Hezbollah says it downed Israeli drone in southern Lebanon

Al-Jazeera  /  June 26, 2023

Lebanon’s Hezbollah group says its fighters shot down an Israeli drone near the border with Israel.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah group says it has downed an Israeli drone in southern Lebanon near the border with Israel.

The Iran-backed group “shot down an Israeli drone that entered Lebanese airspace … near Zibqin in the south”, it said in a statement on Monday.

The group gave no further details.

The Israeli military said one of its drones “fell in Lebanese territory during routine activity” and that there was “no risk” of data being scraped from it, according to the Reuters news agency.

Tensions high

The incident comes after weeks of tensions along the Lebanon-Israel border, mainly in a disputed area known as Shebaa Farms.

Earlier this month, Israeli soldiers used tear gas to disperse Lebanese protesters who pelted the troops with stones along the border. Some of the demonstrators and Lebanese troops suffered breathing problems.

The protest took place on the edge of Kfar Chouba hills, which Beirut says is Lebanese land occupied by Israel.

The hills and the nearby Shebaa Farms were captured by Israel during the 1967 war and claimed by Lebanon.

Israeli media reported earlier this month that Hezbollah had set up two tents there “in Israeli territory”. There was no comment from Hezbollah.

Hezbollah carried out military exercises near the country’s southern border with Israel in May in a show of its military power.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a month-long war in Lebanon in 2006. Hezbollah has in the past claimed downing Israeli drones, while Israel’s military has claimed shooting down of Hezbollah drones.



Hezbollah-linked outlet says group downed Israeli drone in Lebanese air space

Reuters  /  June 26, 2023

BEIRUT – A media channel affiliated with Lebanon’s Hezbollah said on Monday the powerful armed group downed an Israeli drone that flew into Lebanon’s southern air space.

Israel’s military told Reuters one of its drones “fell in Lebanese territory during routine activity” and that there was “no risk” of data being scraped from it.

The initial report by the Hezbollah-linked War Media channel, which publishes news of political and military developments in the region including Hezbollah’s activities, said the drone was downed near the town of Zibqin in south Lebanon.

It was first broadcast by the Hezbollah-affiliated television station Al-Manar and then shared directly with Reuters by Hezbollah’s media office.

Neither Al-Manar nor War Media gave further details.

Hezbollah and Israel have made claims to shooting down each other’s drones in the past. Last month, Israel’s military said it had downed a drone crossing into Israel from Lebanon but did not say who had sent it.

In 2021, Hezbollah said it shot down an Israeli drone in south Lebanon that Israel, in turn, said “fell” during “routine activity.”

The Iranian-backed Hezbollah and Israel fought a month-long war in 2006 and have traded fire on several occasions since, but have avoided another large-scale confrontation.

Reporting by Laila Bassam and Maya Gebeily; additional reporting by Henriette Chacar; editing by Alison Williams and Mark Heinrich