Israeli army says one of its drones crashed inside Lebanon

Tensions between Israel and Lebanon have risen this week after Hezbollah fighter was killed in apparent Israeli strike.

A photo taken on September 19, 2019, shows an alleged Israeli drone that was captured by Lebanese forces after falling in a southern Beirut suburb, displayed on a table during a press conference held
In this file photo from September 19, 2019, Lebanon's defence ministry displays an alleged Israeli drone that was captured by Lebanese forces after falling in a southern Beirut suburb [Joesph Eid/AFP]

The Israeli army says one of its drones came down in Lebanese territory, following a reinforcement of its presence at its northern frontier near Lebanon.

The drone fell “during IDF operational activity” along the border, the army said in a statement on Sunday.

“There is no concern that any information was leaked,” it said.

Israel’s Channel 12 reported that the drone crashed after it experienced a technical failure.

Escalating tensions

Tensions have risen along Israel’s frontier with Syria and Lebanon this week after a fighter from the Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah was killed in an apparent Israeli strike on the edge of Damascus.

Israel regularly deploys drones over Lebanon, in particular to monitor the movements of Hezbollah, an adversary of Israel and a heavyweight in Lebanese politics.

During a visit on Sunday to a military base near the border, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said that “Lebanon and Syria are responsible for what happens on and from their territory”.

“We are not trying to escalate the situation, but whoever wants to test us will see a very strong reaction,” Gantz warned, according to a statement from his office.

Israel is technically at war with both Lebanon and Syria, and has carried out hundreds of air attacks on Syrian soil to prevent Iran, which backs Damascus, from gaining a foothold there.

Israel this week reinforced its troop presence on its northern border in what several Israeli media outlets said was a response to an increased threat from Hezbollah.

On Monday, five Iran-backed fighters were killed in an Israeli missile strike south of the Syrian capital Damascus, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor. Hezbollah said one of its fighters was among the dead.

Israel announced initial reinforcements to the north on Thursday and additional measures on Friday.

Hours later, it struck military targets in southern Syria in retaliation for earlier “munitions” fire towards Israel from inside Syria.

The army said that in ordering the redeployment it had “elevated its readiness against various potential enemy actions”.

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Source: News Agencies