Nasrallah: Hezbollah didn't send drone over Israel

Hezbollah leader accuses Israel of shooting down one of its own drones in order to frame his organization.

April 30, 2013 23:47
2 minute read.
Hezbollah leader Nasrallah speaks to supporters

Hezbollah leader Nasrallah speaks to supporters 390 R. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah denied on Tuesday reports that his organization launched the drone the IAF shot down over Haifa bay last week, the Lebanese Daily Star reported.

"Hezbollah has the courage to bear the responsibility of any action it makes, especially when it is related to the Israeli enemy," Nasrallah said in a televised speech.

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He warned Israel against committing "any folly" in Lebanon. "Who assumes that the resistance is weak and vague is mistaken, and I warn the enemy, and the sides standing behind it, from committing any folly in Lebanon, because the resistance is alert, prepared, and determined to defend Lebanon," he said.

Raising speculations as to the origins of the drone, the Hezbollah leader said there was a strong possibility Israel shot down one of its own drones to frame Hezbollah.

"The assumption is that Israel sent the drone over Lebanon and returned it to the occupied territories, to down it later on, and this is very much possible," he said.

Another possibility he raised was that an "unfriendly side" sent the drone "so that Israel would accuse Hezbollah and wage a military operation, and then Hezbollah would have to defend itself, pushing Lebanon into a clash between Israel in Hezbollah."

The Hezbollah leader ruled out the option the drone was sent by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, calling the option "unrealistic."

Furthermore, Nasrallah also questioned whether or not the drone entered Israel's territory, saying "there isn’t any evidence that an aircraft did enter... until this moment, the Israelis have not broadcast a film or images of the wreck of the aircraft they claimed they have downed."

Hezbollah issued a statement on Thursday saying it had not sent the drone into Israeli airspace “Hezbollah denies that it has sent any surveillance plane towards the occupied Palestinian land,” a statement by the Iranian-backed Shi’ite group said.

Asked whether Hezbollah was behind the incident, an IDF spokesman said an investigation was under way.

The Israel Air Force shot down the drone off the coast of Haifa on Thursday. IDF air defenses picked up the drone shortly after 1 p.m., and F-16 fighter aircraft and combat helicopters scrambled to intercept it. The hostile craft flew southward along the Lebanese coastline when it came under the observation of the IAF.

The incursion marked the second such violation of Israeli airspace in six months. The IAF shot down a drone that Hezbollah had sent from Lebanon over the Negev in October 2012. The drone was not carrying explosives and likely had been sent on an intelligence- gathering mission, as well as to test Israel’s air defenses.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.

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