Hezbollah downs IDF drone over south Lebanon, fires heavy rockets at base in north

Hermes 900 UAV seen crashing after being hit by surface-to-air missile; damage caused in attack on Kiryat Shmona; military hits ‘significant assets’ in overnight airstrikes

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Footage shows an IDF Hermes 900 drone crashing in southern Lebanon after being hit by a Hezbollah surface-to-air missile, June 1, 2024. (Social media/X. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

An Israeli military unmanned aerial vehicle was shot down by Hezbollah over southern Lebanon on Saturday, hours after the terror group launched rockets with heavy warheads at an army base adjacent to the northern city of Kiryat Shmona.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that one of its drones was brought down by a surface-to-air missile while operating over southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah, in a statement, said it had intercepted a Hermes 900, a large surveillance and attack UAV used by the Israeli military in Lebanon, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and other fronts.

The IDF said the incident was being investigated.

It marked the fourth IDF drone to be shot down by Hezbollah over southern Lebanon amid the war. In all, two Hermes 450 drones and two Hermes 900 models have been downed by the terror group in recent months.

Footage posted by Lebanese media outlets showed the drone crashing in southern Lebanon.

Earlier Saturday, Hezbollah claimed responsibility for launching heavy “Burkan” rockets at a military base adjacent to the northern border town of Kiryat Shmona. Such rockets have a relatively short range but a large warhead, estimated in the low hundreds of kilograms of explosives.

Gibor Camp, the headquarters of the IDF’s 769th Brigade, was heavily damaged in the attack, footage showed.

The Kiryat Shmona municipality also said damage was caused to nearby infrastructure, property, and vehicles.

The IDF said no injuries were caused in the attack, and a short while after, it struck and destroyed a rocket launcher used to launch the two projectiles with heavy warheads.

In another attack Saturday, two rockets were fired from Lebanon at the northern community of Yiftah. The IDF said both projectiles landed in open areas.

Also Saturday morning, the IDF said it also struck two Hezbollah operatives who were spotted in southern Lebanon’s Majdel Selm.

It published footage of the strike.

The attack on Kiryat Shmona and the drone incident came after a wave of overnight fighter jet strikes against “significant assets” belonging to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, the IDF said.

The military said the strikes, carried out in Ain Qana, Hmaileh and Aadloun, were a response to rocket attacks on northern Israel on Friday.

Also overnight, fighter jets struck Hezbollah observation posts in Tayr Harfa; buildings used by the terror group in Jebbayn and Khiam; a rocket launcher in Majdal Zoun used in yesterday’s attack on northern Israel; and other infrastructure in Rachaya al-Foukhar, the IDF added.

Since October 8, Hezbollah-led forces have attacked Israeli communities and military posts along the border on a near-daily basis, with the group saying it is doing so to support Gaza amid the war there.

So far, the skirmishes on the border have resulted in 10 civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of 14 IDF soldiers and reservists. There have also been several attacks from Syria, without any injuries.

Hezbollah has named 326 members who have been killed by Israel during the ongoing skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon but some also in Syria. In Lebanon, another 62 operatives from other terror groups, a Lebanese soldier, and dozens of civilians have been killed.

Israel has expressed openness to a diplomatic solution to the conflict, but has threatened to go to war against Hezbollah to restore security to the north of Israel, where tens of thousands of civilians are currently displaced.

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