Hezbollah sent drone to Israel: Chief
An unidentified aircraft shot down in a mid-air interception on Oct 6. REUTERS photoHezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah claimed responsibility Oct. 11 for the launching of an Iranian-made
drone aircraft that was shot down Oct. 6 after flying 55 kilometers into Israel. The militant Lebanese organization has already been accused by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of launching the drone.
Nasrallah, meanwhile, also vowed that it would not be the last such operation against Israel, Reuters reported.
Nasrallah said in a televised speech that the drone’s parts were manufactured in Iran and that it had been assembled by members of the group in Lebanon. “The resistance in Lebanon sent a sophisticated reconnaissance aircraft from Lebanon.”
“It penetrated the enemy’s iron procedures and entered occupied southern Palestine.”
Nasrallah said the aircraft was launched from Lebanese territory and flew “tens of kilometers” over sensitive Israeli installations before it was discovered and shot down by the Israeli air force near the Dimona nuclear reactor in Israel’s southern desert.
‘Our natural right’
“It is our natural right to send other reconnaissance flights inside occupied Palestine. ... This is not the first time and will not be the last. We can reach any place we want,” he said.
Lebanese newspaper the Daily Star quoted Nasrallah as saying that Israel had violated Lebanese airspace 20,864 times since the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 in 2006 to end hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel. Lebanese-based Al-Manar TV showed the footage of the “Ayyoub,” which launched from Lebanon and flew south over the Mediterranean Sea, avoiding detection by Israeli coastal radar before it reached the Gaza Strip.
The drone proceeded to the Negev Desert before it was shot down by the Israeli air force. The aircraft traversed a total of 300 kilometers, the Daily Star reported. The drone had a potential range of 1,000 kilometers and was in the air for approximately three hours. It lacked arms, but could be fitted with bombs, said the report.
Israel said it shot down the drone over the southern Negev desert after it entered the country’s airspace from the Mediterranean Sea on Oct. 6.
Nasrallah’s statement came only hours after Netanyahu claimed that Hezbollah was behind the drone flight.
Touring southern Israel on Oct. 11, Netanyahu accused Hezbollah of launching the previously unidentified drone and vowed to protect Israeli borders against further intrusions, Agence France-Presse reported.
“We are acting with determination to protect our borders ... as we prevented last weekend an attempt by Hezbollah,” Netanyahu’s office quoted him as saying. “We shall continue to act aggressively against all threats.” Israel has said the latest drone was not carrying explosives.