The Israeli military said a small quadcopter fell inside southern Lebanon on Wednesday morning after Lebanese media claimed that it had been shot down by Hezbollah.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that the aerial device was conducting “routine operations to secure the border” when it fell; there is no concern that any intelligence gathered could be leaked.
The military did not state why the quadcopter crashed.
While Lebanon’s MTV news station claimed the quadcopter had been shot down by Hezbollah, the group’s Al-Manar news said that it had been shot down by a civilian with a hunting rifle, near the village of Kila next to the Israeli border across from the Israeli town of Metula.
Video shared on social media showed the aerial device hovering in the air next to the Fatima Gate, followed by gunfire. Photographs shared by Hezbollah supporters showed a man holding the device, a small DJI Mavic commonly used by Israeli troops.
Israel received hundreds of Chinese-made DJI Mavic drones in 2017. According to the military, they are a central part of border defense operations that assist troops in various unclassified missions.
The Mavic, which weighs less than two pounds and has a single battery life of up to 20 minutes at a speed of 65 km/hr, can fold up and fit into a pouch. It comes with two flight modes, including “sport” – which allows it to fly at top speed, bank and turn sharply to avoid danger, thanks to two front-facing sensors.
Other combat intelligence battalions in the IDF also use the larger Matrice four-bladed quadcopter, with double the battery life of the Mavic. It is able to fly at night, and is considered more robust at just over five pounds, allowing it to fly in bad weather.
Neither the Mavic nor the Matrice are considered to be combat drones. The Mavic is only used during the day to help the company commander gather intelligence.
A similar Mavic drone crashed in southern Lebanon last month, with Hezbollah claiming to have shot it down.
The group vowed to start shooting down Israeli drones after an alleged Israeli drone attack on the group in it’s Beirut stronghold in August.
According to a report by The Times, the two drones which crashed in the Lebanese capital targeted Hezbollah’s precision missile project, including crates with machinery to mix high-grade propellant for precision-guided missiles.
Intelligence sources quoted in the report said that the Iranian-made mixer, which was regarded as one of the key components of precision-missile technology, was seriously damaged; the computerized control mechanism, which was in a separate crate, was totally destroyed in the blast.
Hezbollah claimed that the two drones were both armed with 5.5 kilos of C4 explosives.
The IDF has remained mum on the subject, saying that it does not comment on foreign reports.Tzvi Joffre contributed to this report.