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Hezbollah says it downed Israel drone to boost deterrence

Hezbollah says downed Israeli drone in S. Lebanon Hezbollah says it downed Israel drone to boost deterrence
Deanna Wagner | 10 September, 2019, 16:28

On Monday, Hezbollah said it downed and took possession of an Israeli drone in south Lebanon after a flare-up at the border with Israel around a week ago. The IDF confirmed that the drone fell inside Lebanese territory, but when asked if the aircraft had been shot down or crashed due to a technical issue, an army spokesperson said, "It fell, as far as I know".

Iraq's powerful Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi force, or Popular Mobilisation Forces(PMF), blamed Israel for carrying out a deadly drone attack close to the border with Syria.

Lebanon's Hezbollah said on Monday it has downed and seized an Israeli drone that flew across the Lebanese border, a week after a flash confrontation between the arch-foes.

The hardline militant movement had already vowed to start "a new phase" of their fight against Israel, which means targeting Israel's unmanned aerial vehicles over Lebanon.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri said two Israeli drones that came down in the Hezbollah-dominated southern suburbs of Beirut, amounted to an open attack on the country's sovereignty and an attempt to foment regional tensions.

"We are in the midst of a major campaign, [and] the United States and Israel are trying to outflank us", he said.

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Israel has repeatedly bombed what it claims to be sites belonging to Iranian-backed militias, including Hezbollah, inside Syria for years.

"We hold the Americans and Israelis responsible for these acts of aggression which cross the red lines", said the official, who was not named.

Hezbollah gleefully announced it had killed and wounded soldiers after firing the anti-tank missiles into northern Israel earlier this month, but Israel later said no soldiers were injured and Israeli sources indicated that footage of wounded soldiers being rushed to a hospital was part of a ruse.

Last month, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said his group would confront and shoot down any Israeli drones that enter Lebanese airspace, raising the potential for conflict amid heightened tensions.

Israel had also raised the stakes by accusing Iran of stepping up efforts to provide Hezbollah with precision-guided missile production facilities. It did not say what caused the crash and added, "there is no concern information could be taken from it".