IDF drone crashes in south Lebanon; Hezbollah says it shot it down

Military says device crashed during ‘operational activities’ along the border, amid lingering tensions between Israel and the Lebanese terror group

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

A 'Matrice' drone, with night-vision capabilities, used by the IDF. (Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel)
Illustrative. A 'Matrice' drone, with night-vision capabilities, operated by the Israel Defense Forces. (Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel)

An Israeli drone crashed on Monday in southern Lebanon, with the Hezbollah terror group saying it shot it down.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that one of its drones fell in Lebanese territory, but refrained from specifying the cause of the crash.

“During operational activities by IDF troops on the Lebanese border, an IDF drone fell in Lebanese territory,” the military said in a statement.

According to Hezbollah-affiliated media, the drone crashed near the village of Blida, just west of the border from the Israeli community of Yiftah, and was taken away by members of the terror group.

The IDF said there was no risk of intelligence being taken from the drone, which appears to have been a small, off-the-shelf model used for simple reconnaissance missions.

The Hezbollah-linked news site Central Media later shared photographs and a video of the drone, which appears to be a Matrice model of the Chinese manufacturer DJI, equipped with a camera. The device does not appear to be damaged.

Such drones, which are relatively cheap, crash or are brought down in Lebanon — and the Gaza Strip — at a frequency of once every few months. This occurred most recently in September, when the Lebanese military said it shot down an Israeli drone.

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

Monday’s incident 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.

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

Though over six months have passed, the Israeli military believes Hezbollah still intends to exact revenge for the killing of its member.

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