In apparent deepest attack of war, drone launched from Lebanon strikes near Nazareth

IDF says it failed to intercept projectile, investigating why sirens didn’t warn of incoming drone; Hezbollah doesn’t immediately take credit

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Illustrative - Rockets fired from southern Lebanon are intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome air defense system over the Golan Heights on May 16, 2024. (Jalaa Marey/AFP)
Illustrative - Rockets fired from southern Lebanon are intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome air defense system over the Golan Heights on May 16, 2024. (Jalaa Marey/AFP)

A drone launched from Lebanon, likely by the Hezbollah terror group, impacted in an open area in the Jezreel Valley, near Nazareth, in northern Israel on Friday afternoon, the Israeli military said.

It took the Israel Defense Forces eight hours to provide an update on the incident, during which an interceptor missile was launched and sirens had sounded in towns adjacent to Nazareth.

According to the IDF, it carried out a failed attempt to intercept the drone before the aircraft impacted in an open field, causing no injuries or major damage. Residents of the area reported seeing an Iron Dome missile launch.

Sirens warning of incoming rockets had sounded in Reineh, Kafr Kanna, Mashhad, and Nof HaGalil during the incident, amid fears of falling shrapnel following the interception.

There were no sirens warning of an incoming drone amid the incident.

The IDF said it was investigating why it failed to down the drone and why sirens did not sound.

The incident potentially marked the deepest Hezbollah attack in Israel amid the war, with the projectile hitting an area some 40 kilometers (24 miles) from the border. The previous deepest attack occurred last month, when a Hezbollah drone struck a military facility some 35 kilometers (21 miles) from the Lebanon border.

Hezbollah did not immediately claim responsibility for Friday’s drone.

At the same time as the incident near Nazareth, a second drone struck an area near the border community of Shomera, the military added.

No injuries were caused by either drone.

Smoke billows following an Israeli bombardment in the southern Lebanese border village of Khiam on June 5, 2024. (Rabih DAHER / AFP)

On Friday evening, the military said two rockets launched from Lebanon struck open areas near Matat, setting off sirens in the border community. Sirens a short while earlier in the Western Galilee warning of a suspected drone infiltration were a false alarm, the IDF said.

Meanwhile, the IDF said Israeli fighter jets struck a Hezbollah rocket launcher and other infrastructure in southern Lebanon on Friday.

Troops also shelled several locations with artillery and mortars to “remove threats,” the military added.

Earlier Friday, the IDF said Israeli fighter jets struck buildings used by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon’s Jabal Rezlane, and in the towns of Ramyeh and Kafr Kila overnight.

Hezbollah began carrying out near-daily attacks on Israeli communities and military posts on October 8, saying it was doing so to support Gaza as Israel launched an offensive to eliminate Hamas following the October 7 massacre.

The terror group in recent months has increasingly been using explosive-laden drones, alongside anti-tank guided missiles and barrages of rockets.

The skirmishes on the border have resulted in 10 civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of 15 IDF soldiers and reservists. There have also been several attacks from Syria, without any injuries.

Hezbollah has named 331 members who have been killed by Israel during the ongoing skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon but some also in Syria. In Lebanon, another 62 operatives from other terror groups, a Lebanese soldier, and dozens of civilians have been killed.

Israel has expressed openness to a diplomatic solution to the conflict, but has threatened to go to war against Hezbollah to restore security to the north of Israel, where tens of thousands of civilians are currently displaced.

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