Lapid flies over threatened Israeli gas rig, calls on Lebanon to negotiate

Earlier this month, the IDF shot down three UAVs launched by Hezbollah toward the Karish rig.

 Prime Minister Yair Lapid flies over the Karish gas rig, July 19, 2022 (photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
Prime Minister Yair Lapid flies over the Karish gas rig, July 19, 2022
(photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, on Tuesday, flew over the Karish gas rig that has been threatened and attacked by Hezbollah and called on Lebanon to recognize that it can benefit from its natural gas reserves through negotiations with Israel.

"Israel's gas reserves have the potential to contribute to resolving the global energy crisis. Lebanon can also benefit from the development of its economic water reservoirs, through negotiations, which must be completed soon," said Lapid.

"The new rig is the energy future of the State of Israel and an economic opportunity that includes the export of gas to Egypt and Europe, from which every Israeli citizen will benefit in the not too distant future," added the prime minister.

 London-based Energean's drill ship begins drilling at the Karish natural gas field offshore Israel in the east Mediterranean May 9, 2022. Picture taken May 9, 2022.  (credit: REUTERS/Ari Rabinovitch) London-based Energean's drill ship begins drilling at the Karish natural gas field offshore Israel in the east Mediterranean May 9, 2022. Picture taken May 9, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/Ari Rabinovitch)

Earlier this month, the IDF shot down three UAVs launched by Hezbollah toward the Karish rig, which is situated within Israel’s economic waters but disputed by Lebanon.

One of the three UAVs was shot down by an F-16, and the other two were downed by the naval Barak 1 Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missile system on the INS Eilat, marking the first time the system was used against aerial threats.

Lebanon can also benefit from the development of its economic water reservoirs, through negotiations, which must be completed soon."

Prime Minister Yair Lapid

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

Israel sees the rig as a strategic asset several kilometers south of the area over which negotiations are being conducted, and has warned that it will defend it.

In addition to being officially at war, Lebanon and Israel have an unresolved maritime border dispute over a triangular area of sea of around 860 sq. km., It extends along several blocks for exploratory offshore drilling for which Lebanon has put in a tender.