IDF drone crashes in southern Lebanon, apparently after it was shot down

Military says device was conducting operations along the border; video appears to show it being shot down with a hunting rifle

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

A Lebanese man holds an Israeli drone that he allegedly shot down near the border on October 23, 2019. (Twitter)
A Lebanese man holds an Israeli drone that he allegedly shot down near the border on October 23, 2019. (Twitter)

A small IDF drone crashed in southern Lebanon on Wednesday morning, apparently after it was shot down.

The Israel Defense Forces said the aircraft was conducting “routine operations to secure the border” when it fell inside Lebanese territory.

Lebanon’s MTV news station claimed the drone had been shot down by the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group.

However, the Hezbollah mouthpiece Al-Manar reported that the small quadcopter-style drone was shot down by a civilian from the village of Kila with a hunting rifle.

A video from Lebanon shared on social media showed the drone hovering in the air followed by the cracks of gunfire. Photographs apparently taken shortly thereafter show a Lebanese man holding the drone, a collapsible model known as a Mavic, which is used by Israeli troops.

The drone appears to be missing one of its rotors.

An IDF spokesperson said she could not immediately comment on what had caused the drone to crash, if it indeed had been shot down or if it suffered a technical failure as is common in small drones.

Illustrative. A Mavic drone, manufactured by the Chinese company DJI. (ThoroughlyReviewed/Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

Last month, a similar drone crashed in southern Lebanon. Then too Hezbollah claimed to have shot it down.

Hezbollah vowed to start shooting down Israeli spy drones after a drone attack on the terror group’s Beirut stronghold in late August, which it blamed on Israel.

In response, on September 1, Iran-backed Shiite group fired three anti-tank missiles into Israel, nearly hitting a military vehicle and successfully striking an army base near the border. The IDF said it sustained no casualties.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah later said his organization would respond to any further Israeli attacks with strikes “deep inside Israel” and not just along the border.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah, considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States, is a major political actor in Lebanon and a key backer of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad in his country’s civil war.

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