An Israeli drone crashed inside southern Lebanon in the predawn hours of Monday morning, the army said.
The Hezbollah terror group claimed to have shot down the aircraft as it crossed the border with Lebanon, a week after a confrontation between the terror group and Israel.
The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that the drone fell inside Lebanese territory. But 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.”
The military said the drone was a small copter-style craft that had been performing routine reconnaissance operations in the area. “There is no concern that information could be [taken from the drone],” the army said.
Fighters from the Lebanese Shiite terror group “confronted with necessary weapons an Israeli drone” as it entered southern Lebanon near the village of Ramiyeh, a Hezbollah statement said.
The drone is now in the hands of Hezbollah, it added.
Hezbollah had vowed to start shooting down Israeli spy drones after a drone attack on the terror group’s Beirut stronghold two weeks ago, which it blamed on Israel.
The incident follows an escalation in tensions between the two that included an exchange of fire on Sunday, September 1.
The Iran-backed Shiite movement said it had fired anti-tank missiles into Israel, destroying a military vehicle and killing or wounding those inside.
Israel’s army said it had responded with around 100 artillery shells after Hezbollah targeted a battalion headquarters and military ambulance, hitting both. Israeli officials denied claims of casualties.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah later said his organization would respond to any further Israeli attacks with strikes “deep inside Israel” and not just along the border.
Iran-backed Hezbollah, considered a terrorist organisation by Israel and the United States, is a major political actor in Lebanon and a key government backer in war-torn Syria.