Israeli drone downed by Hezbollah missile over south Lebanon

IDF says it struck terror group’s surface-to-air missile launch site after Hermes 450 intercepted in third such incident since February; 3 rockets fired at border town, no injuries

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

This image from a video published by Hezbollah on April 22, 2024, shows an Israeli military drone being downed over southern Lebanon. (Hezbollah media office)
This image from a video published by Hezbollah on April 22, 2024, shows an Israeli military drone being downed over southern Lebanon. (Hezbollah media office)

An Israeli military drone was downed by a Hezbollah surface-to-air missile over southern Lebanon overnight, the Israel Defense Forces said Monday, as rockets set off sirens in a town where a deadly strike took place last week.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group said early Monday that it shot down an Elbit Hermes 450 unmanned aerial vehicle over the Lebanese town of Aaichiyeh, some 13 kilometers (8 miles) from the Israeli border.

Known in the military as the Zik, the UAV is used by the Israeli Air Force as a surveillance and attack drone.

The terror group published a video purporting to show the drone being shot down.

Israeli fighter jets struck the missile launch site used in the attack, the IDF said, adding that the incident was under further investigation.

Israel regularly conducts overflies in southern Lebanon, but a mounting number of drone interceptions have challenged the army’s overwhelming air superiority over the region.

In February, Hezbollah managed to shoot down a Hermes 450 drone, prompting IDF strikes deep in Lebanon for the first time in years.

Earlier this month, the terror group shot down a Hermes 900 drone, a larger model.

Since October 8, Hezbollah and allied terror groups have attacked Israeli communities and military posts along the border on a daily basis with rockets, drones, anti-tank missiles and other means, saying it is doing so to support Gaza during the war there.

Fresh rocket sirens sounded in the border community of Arab al-Aramshe Monday morning. The Israeli military said three rockets fired from Lebanon struck open areas near the town, causing no injuries or damage.

The largely evacuated Bedouin town was the site of a deadly Hezbollah drone attack on Wednesday. Maj. (res.) Dor Zimel, 27, critically wounded in the April 17 incident, succumbed to his wounds on Sunday.

Smoke billows from the site of an Israeli airstrike on the village of Majdel Zoun near Lebanon’s southern border on April 21, 2024. (KAWNAT HAJU / AFP)

Israel has threatened to go to war to force Hezbollah away from the border if it does not retreat and continues to threaten northern communities, from where some 70,000 people were evacuated to avoid the fighting.

So far, the skirmishes on the border have resulted in eight civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of 11 IDF soldiers and reservists. There have also been several attacks from Syria, without any injuries.

Hezbollah has named 285 members who have been killed by Israel during the ongoing skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon, but some also in Syria. In Lebanon, another 54 operatives from other terror groups, a Lebanese soldier and at least 60 civilians have been killed.

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