Lebanon warns Israel against blatant aggression

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah expected to talk after 5 pm following two alleged Israeli drones downing Beirut.

August 25, 2019 17:07
2 minute read.
Broken windows are pictured after an Israeli drone fell in the Hezbollah-dominated southern suburbs

Broken windows are pictured after an Israeli drone fell in the Hezbollah-dominated southern suburbs and a second one exploded near the ground in Dahiyeh suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon August 25, 2019. (photo credit: MOHAMED AZAKIR / REUTERS)

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun blasted Israel on Sunday after two drones, one being armed, crashed in the Lebanese capital of Beirut early Sunday morning, shortly after the Israeli military said it foiled an Iranian drone attack against northern Israel from Syria.

Calling the “Israeli aggression” on the southern suburbs of Beirut a “blatant attack on Lebanon and the integrity of its territory,” Aoun said that Israel’s “aggression is a threat to regional stability.”

Hezbollah meanwhile denied reports that the group was planning a military response to the incident after a report in the Lebanese newspaper Alluah said that it had raised its alert and was planning a response ahead of a speech by the group’s leader Hassan Nasrallah which is scheduled for 5pm Sunday evening.

Lebanon’s military said two IDF reconnaissance drones crashed in the Lebanese capital of Beirut early Saturday morning and that troops quickly “took the necessary measures” and cordoned off the area.

“Two Israeli enemy reconnaissance aircraft violated Lebanese airspace over the area of Moawad - Madi neighborhood in the southern suburbs of Beirut,” read a statement by the Lebanese Armed Forces. “The first crashed and the second exploded in the air, causing limited damage.”

Hezbollah spokesman Muhammad Afif said Sunday that one Israeli drone exploded and caused significant damage to the media office in the Moawwas neighborhood of Beirut, wounding three people. Another drone was reported to have crashed in the group’s stronghold neighborhood of Dahiyeh shortly afterwards, causing no damage.

"There were two drones -- the first fell and was neutralized, the second exploded," Afif was quoted by Hezbollah’s al-Manar news site as saying, adding that the group did not shoot down either of the drones.

“The first unmanned reconnaissance aircraft is now in the custody of the party, which is analyzing the background of its operation and the tasks it tried to carry out," Afif added.

According to reports, immediately after the incident Hezbollah forces and troops from the Lebanese Armed Forces cordoned off the scene and prevented journalists from covering the incident.

The Israeli drones that fell in Beirut had certain "targets" which so far investigations have not confirmed, a Hezbollah spokesperson said in televised comments.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a deadly 33-day war in 2006, which came to an end under UN Security Council Resolution 1701. Israel and Lebanon are still technically at war and Beirut regularly accuses Israel of violating its airspace with fighter jets and drones.

Hours before the incident in Beirut the IDF announced that it had foiled an Iranian attack against northern Israel, striking targets in the Aqraba south of the Syrian capital of Damascus.

The IDF said that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force was planning to launch several armed quadcopters to attack targets in northern Israel in the coming days.

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