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Lebanese army claims to shoot down IDF drone over its airspace

Israeli military says aircraft crashed during ‘routine operations,’ no risk that intelligence can be taken from debris

Illustrative: This Saturday, March 31, 2018 photo released by Hezbollah Central Military Media, shows the wreckage of an Israeli military drone that crashed not far from the Israeli border, in the area of Khalet Mariam near the southern village of Baraashit, in south Lebanon. (Hezbollah Military Media, via AP)
Illustrative: This Saturday, March 31, 2018 photo released by Hezbollah Central Military Media, shows the wreckage of an Israeli military drone that crashed not far from the Israeli border, in the area of Khalet Mariam near the southern village of Baraashit, in south Lebanon. (Hezbollah Military Media, via AP)

The Lebanese army said it shot down an Israeli military drone that had penetrated its airspace on Thursday evening.

The Israel Defense Forces in its own statement appeared to confirm the incident, saying that a small drone crashed as it was conducting “routine operations” along the Lebanese border.

The Lebanese army in a tweet said the drone was shot down 200 meters from the UN-drawn Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon, while it was flying over Aita al-Shaab.

The IDF declined to comment on the drone’s exact location when it went down but said there was no risk that intelligence could be taken from the aircraft.

This was the second time in the past month that forces in Lebanon claimed to shoot down an IDF drone.

The Hezbollah terror group said it struck and seized an Israeli aircraft as it flew over the same Lebanese border town on August 23.

Then too, the Israeli military confirmed only that a drone had fallen in Lebanon during operational activity along the Lebanon border and that there was no risk that the intelligence gathered by the aircraft could be seized.

Israel is technically at war with Lebanon. Lebanon regularly complains about Israeli surveillance drones invading its airspace.

In September 2019, Hezbollah vowed to down Israeli drones overflying Lebanon following an incident a month earlier when two UAVs packed with explosives targeted Hezbollah’s stronghold of south Beirut.

Tensions have been high along the Israeli-Lebanese border, known as the Blue Line, since a fighter from the Iran-backed group was killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria in July.

Israel scrambled troops and military hardware to the border over fears of a Hezbollah reprisal attack.

The IDF said days later that it had repelled an attempt by Hezbollah fighters to penetrate the border, but the Shiite Lebanese group denied any involvement in the incident.

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