A spokesman for the Hezbollah terror group said Sunday that an armed Israeli drone exploded outside the organization’s propaganda offices in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, causing damage to the structure.
Hezbollah spokesman Muhammad Afif said a second drone crashed, causing no damage, and was being studied by the terror group.
The Israel Defense Forces said it does not comment on “foreign reports.”
The Lebanese military confirmed Hezbollah’s claim, saying in a statement, “Two of the Israeli enemy’s drones penetrated Lebanese airspace above the Madi neighborhood in the southern suburb of Beirut. The first fell to the ground and the second exploded in the air, only causing material damages.”
The incident came hours after the Israel Defense Forces carried out airstrikes in Syria against what it said was an imminent Iranian plot to attack the Jewish state with explosives-laden drones.
Earlier on Sunday morning, officials in Lebanon reported that two Israeli drones had gone down near Dahiyeh, one of them causing a large blast. However, Hezbollah initially refused to officially comment on the matter.
Speaking first to Lebanese state media and later to foreign reporters, Afif denied reports that Hezbollah had shot down the drones.
“We did not shoot down or explode any of the drones,” Afif told The Associated Press.
He said the first drone caused a “real explosion” and significant damage to Hezbollah’s media headquarters in the Moawwad district of Beirut.
Photographs from the scene shared by the terror group showed broken windows and overturned furniture in the offices.
The other drone was confiscated by Hezbollah, and members of the group are “analyzing its background and the tasks it tried to carry out,” Afif said.
The Hezbollah spokesman said the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, would comment on the incident further in a speech scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday.
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.
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.
IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, said Israel on Saturday night conducted airstrikes in Syria to thwart a plan by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Al Quds Force, working with allied Shiite militias, 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.