Small drone from Lebanon downed over northern border town

Military says it monitored device’s flight as it entered Israeli airspace; earlier this week, IDF dropped flyers in southern Lebanon warning against border incursions

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

A small drone downed by the Israeli military on the border with Lebanon, May 24, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
A small drone downed by the Israeli military on the border with Lebanon, May 24, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israeli forces on Thursday downed a small drone that flew over the border from Lebanon, the Israel Defense Forces said.

A statement from the IDF said air control units tracked the unmanned aircraft “throughout the incident” before taking it down near the northern town of Zar’it.

It did not specify how the drone was brought down as it entered Israeli airspace; however, it was believed to have been done using electronic warfare means.

“The IDF will continue to operate in order to prevent any attempt to violate Israeli sovereignty,” the statement added.

In an image shared by the army, the drone appears to be a commercially available quadcopter manufactured by Chinese company DJI.

Defense officials have previously noted that at least some of the drones the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group uses for surveillance purposes are commercially available devices.

There was no immediate statement from Hezbollah or affiliated media outlets on the drone downing.

Lebanon and Israel are technically in a state of war and the heavily guarded border is commonly penetrated by drones from both sides.

Lebanon regularly complains about Israeli surveillance drones invading its airspace, but the IDF maintains that such incursions are necessary to track the activities of Hezbollah, which the Lebanese government is supposed to keep in check.

On Tuesday, the Israeli military dropped flyers in southern Lebanon warning locals against crossing the border.

Ali Shoeib, who works for the Al-Manar Hezbollah mouthpiece, published images of the pamphlets that were distributed near the southern Lebanese village of Kfarchouba.

“Think before you act. Your breaches of the border and your actions make the situation dangerous, and have already resulted in your injury,” the flyers read.

The IDF did not publicly comment on the flyers, which appeared to be similar to those distributed by the military in southern Syria in recent years.

During a conference on Monday, the head of the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate warned that Hezbollah’s leader was “close to making a mistake” that could spark a regional war, while warning that a conflict between Israel and Iran was becoming increasingly direct.

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