Iron Dome activated following UAV crossing from Lebanon to Israel

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit confirmed the red alert sirens and said it was investigating the incident.

 The Iron Dome missile defense system in action. (photo credit: Israel Defense Ministry Spokesperson’s Office)
The Iron Dome missile defense system in action.
(photo credit: Israel Defense Ministry Spokesperson’s Office)

Israeli Air Force jets flew over Beirut at a low altitude after an unmanned aerial vehicle was flown into northern Israel by Hezbollah, setting off red alerts in the northern Galilee area, the Jordan Valley and the southern Golan Heights on Friday morning.

At least two IAF jets flew over the Lebanese capital for several minutes, in an apparent warning to the Iranian-backed terror group.

Earlier, Hezbollah said that a “Hassan” unmanned aircraft had flown 40 minutes in Israeli territory, flying some 70 km. on a “successful” reconnaissance mission before crossing back into Lebanon.

According to the military, the two rounds of red alert sirens were activated after the UAV crossed into Israeli airspace. While an Iron Dome interceptor was launched, fighter jets and helicopters also scrambled during the incident.

“A short time ago, a radio-controlled aircraft crossed into Israeli airspace from Lebanon,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement. “As a result, sirens were sounded and aerial defense systems were activated. After a few minutes, radar contact was lost with the aircraft. The event is under investigation.”

 Hezbollah drone shot down by IDF, January 7, 2022 (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) Hezbollah drone shot down by IDF, January 7, 2022 (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Residents in the area reported hearing an explosion following the second round of alarms. Magen David Adom rescue services said that there were no injuries following the alerts and the IDF said that there were no special instructions for residents.

The incident comes as IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi is in Singapore for a five-day visit, where he will go to the Singapore Air Show and hold meetings with several officials. He is being replaced by Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevy.

This is the third drone incident in two days.

On Thursday, the IDF shot down a Hezbollah drone after it infiltrated Israeli airspace. Later that evening, the IDF announced the downing of a Hamas drone that had entered the border area of the southern Gaza Strip. The drone crashed in Gazan territory.

Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported on Wednesday that the defense establishment was preparing for a possible drone attack from Iran after US forces shot down two Iranian drones in Iraq. There was concern that the drones were meant to reach Israel and explode.

Also on Wednesday, Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah claimed that the group had begun manufacturing its own drones.

“We have been producing drones in Lebanon for a long time, and whoever wants to buy them, submit an order,” he said in a speech marking the anniversary of the assassination of former Hezbollah secretary-general Abbas al-Moussawi by Israel in 1992.

The Iranian-backed terror group has been using unmanned aerial vehicles since the 1990s and has used its drones in Syria as well as against Israel.

Even before the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the group launched drones into the Jewish state, and Hezbollah launched several armed drones into the country during the war.

The group was said to have 200 Iranian-made UAVs in 2013 and, with Iranian help, has significantly increased its fleet to be used for kamikaze attacks on strategic national assets in Israel as well as for reconnaissance against IDF troops and bases.

According to a recent report by the ALMA Research Center, Hezbollah has some 2,000 unmanned aerial vehicles, many of them advanced UAVs from Iran and others manufactured independently by the Lebanese terror group.

Hezbollah has a UAV launch site near the town of Aiiyat in the Bekaa Valley as well as another runway several hundred meters long north of the town of Aiiyat on the outskirts of Baalbek, the report said.