Israel strikes Lebanon ‘to destroy downed drone’

Israeli jets hit drone that reportedly crashed into mountains outside town of Saghbine, Lebanese security source says.

Israel has refused to comment on the claims that it destroyed one of its own drones [File/AFP]

An Israeli war plane has struck a remote area in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley to destroy a downed Israeli drone, a Lebanese security source said.

The source told Reuters news agency that the cause of the blast, which occurred in a mountainous area near the town of Saghbine in the western part of the valley, “is still not 100 percent clear but most probably it was an Israeli air strike to destroy their drone”.

Israel has refused to comment on the claims.

Images published by Lebanon’s Hezbollah-run Al Manar television on Sunday purported to show the remains of the drone that was targeted, including what looked to be a wing and twisted pieces of metal.

It was unclear if there were any casualties in the strike.

Last year, Israel remotely detonated a spying device that was planted near a main road in south Lebanon after it was discovered by its long-time enemy Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia movement.

That blast killed a Hezbollah member and the group responded by detonating a bomb on Lebanon’s border with Israel, wounding two Israeli soldiers.

Israel has carried out several air strikes in neighbouring Syria since the start of Syria’s civil war more than four years ago, mostly destroying weaponry that Israeli officials said were destined for Hezbollah.

Hezbollah and Israel fought a 34-day war in 2006 in which hundreds of people were killed.

Earlier this year an Israeli helicopter strike in Syria killed several Hezbollah members and an Iranian general.

The group hit back days later with a rocket attack that killed two Israeli soldiers near the border with Lebanon.

Observers and Lebanese residents say they have sometimes seen surveillance planes over Lebanon before such strikes.

Source: AFP, Reuters