BEIRUT — An official with Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group said Sunday that an Israeli drone went down over the Lebanese capital of Beirut and another exploded in the air, amid regional tensions between Israel and Iran.
The official said one drone fell and another one exploded near the ground, causing a fire in the Hezbollah stronghold of Dahiyeh.
Iran’s Press TV quoted a Hezbollah official saying the two drones had been downed by the group.
People in the Lebanese capital said a large explosion shook the area and triggered a fire.
They said they heard an aircraft flying just before the blast and reported later that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group sealed off the area. The blast occurred near the group’s media office in the Moawwad district.
Journalists on the scene were not allowed to film or take pictures. One building appeared to be slightly damaged where the drone went down. A man was seen taking away metal parts in a white plastic bag that he said contained parts of the aircraft that went down.
The Israeli military said it does not comment on “foreign reports.”
— Riam Dalati (@Dalatrm) August 24, 2019
Israeli warplanes fly over Lebanon regularly and have struck inside neighboring Syria from Lebanese airspace on numerous occasions. Israel also uses drones to monitor Hezbollah activity in southern Lebanon, according to Beirut.
The incident came hours after Israel carried out airstrikes in Syria against what it said was an imminent Iranian drone plot to attack Israel with explosives-laden drones.
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, said Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Al Quds Force, working with allied Shiite militias, had been planning to send a number of “killer drones” into Israel.
Israeli forces in the north have been put on high alert amid fears of a reprisal attack.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was holding an emergency meeting with defense officials overnight amid the heightened tensions.