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Lebanese media says army fired at Israeli drone over south Lebanon

Media outlet linked to Hezbollah says second drone left area after it was fired upon

The border fence between Israel and Lebanon with the southern Lebanese village of Blida in the background, from the Israeli kibbutz of Yiftah, on January 30, 2018. (AFP Photo/Jalaa Marey)
The border fence between Israel and Lebanon with the southern Lebanese village of Blida in the background, from the Israeli kibbutz of Yiftah, on January 30, 2018. (AFP Photo/Jalaa Marey)

Lebanese media reported that the army fired at an Israeli drone over southern Lebanon late Monday night, and the Hezbollah terror group fired at a second one, causing it to leave the area, amid border tensions.

The  Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar television network said the first drone was hovering over an army outpost in Meiss El Jabal. It was not clear whether the drone had been downed.

The second UAV was spotted over one of the terror group’s sites in Blida.

“A drone… was confronted with appropriate weapons and forced to retreat,” Hezbollah told Al-Manar television in a report cited by the Reuters news agency.

Reuters said Israeli forces fired flares at the border with Lebanon during the incident, but there were no injuries reported.

There was no comment from the Israel Defense Forces.

Last month the Hezbollah terror group fired anti-aircraft missiles at an advanced Israeli drone in a significant escalation in the level of violence along the border. A few days prior to that, a small, off-the-shelf IDF drone was allegedly downed by Hezbollah using small arms fire.

The attacks on the Israeli drones came amid lingering tensions between the IDF and Hezbollah over the death of one of the terror group’s members in July in an airstrike in Syria attributed to Israel, for which the Iran-backed militia vowed revenge. Since then, Israeli troops have remained on high alert along the border.

According to the IDF, Hezbollah has attempted at least two sniper attacks on Israeli troops as retaliation for the killing of its operative, on July 27 and on August 26, both of which failed.

The Israeli military believes Hezbollah still intends to exact revenge for the killing of its member.

Israel is technically at war with Lebanon, where it has fought two campaigns — one in 1982 against Palestinian terrorists who had established a base of operations in the country and one in 2006 against Hezbollah.

A picture taken from Kibbutz Manara shows UNIFIL peacekeepers driving past Hezbollah and Palestinian flags as they patrol along the border with Israel in the southern Lebanese village of Houla, August 26, 2020. (Jalaa Marey/AFP)

Lebanon regularly complains about Israeli surveillance drones invading its airspace, but the IDF maintains that such incursions are necessary to track the illegal activities of Hezbollah, which the Lebanese government is supposed to keep in check.

Last month Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that Hezbollah will be “fatally wounded” if Israel needs to go to war in Lebanon, after the terror group’s head, Hassan Nasrallah, threatened Israel following an IDF exercise simulating war with the terror group.

The Israeli Air Force completed a three-day surprise exercise simulating a large-scale war with Hezbollah last month, including mock strikes on some 3,000 targets in one day, the military said, in a clear threat to the Lebanese terror group.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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