Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Sunday condemned Israel for allegedly sending drones that fell over southern Beirut, calling it a “blatant attack on Lebanon’s sovereignty.”
“This new aggression… forms a threat to regional stability and an attempt to push the situation towards more tension,” Hariri said in a statement.
Hariri also charged that it was in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and terror group Hezbollah.
A Hezbollah spokesman said earlier that an armed Israeli drone exploded outside the organization’s propaganda offices in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, causing damage to the structure. Another Hezbollah spokesman said later that a second drone crashed, causing no damage, and was being studied by the terror group. He denied reports that Hezbollah had shot down the drones.
The Israel Defense Forces said it does not comment on “foreign reports.”
Several well-connected Israeli commentators, including a former IDF general, said the drones appeared to in fact be of Iranian origin.
The Lebanese military confirmed Hezbollah’s claim, saying in a statement, “Two of the Israeli enemy’s drones penetrated Lebanese airspace above the Madi neighborhood in the southern suburb of Beirut. The first fell to the ground and the second exploded in the air, only causing material damages.”
Photographs from the scene shared by the terror group showed broken windows and overturned furniture in the offices.
Official Lebanese state media later released a photograph of the quadcopter-style UAV that crashed. The models used appeared to be civilian drones with extremely limited range that the Israeli military would likely be unable or uninterested in using for a sensitive operation like conducting reconnaissance in a Hezbollah stronghold.
The Hezbollah spokesman said the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, would comment on the incident further in a speech scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday.
The incident came hours after the Israel Defense Forces carried out airstrikes in Syria against what it said was an imminent Iranian plot to attack the Jewish state with explosives-laden drones.
Israeli warplanes fly over Lebanon regularly and have struck inside neighboring Syria from Lebanese airspace on numerous occasions. Israel also uses drones to monitor Hezbollah activity in southern Lebanon, according to Beirut.