IDF drone targeted by anti-aircraft fire over southern Lebanon

The IDF claimed that the drone completed its mission as planned.

IAI Heron UAV (photo credit: IAI)
IAI Heron UAV
(photo credit: IAI)
An IDF surveillance drone was targeted by anti-aircraft missile fire over southern Lebanon on Wednesday but was not hit, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said.
The IDF claimed that the drone was conducting routine surveillance operations over the area - Israel regularly patrols Lebanese skies - and completed its mission as planned.
A security source in Lebanon disputed the claim and said that the drone was shot down. Local witnesses said they heard an explosion and video footage showed smoke in the sky.
Hezbollah-affiliated reporter Ali Shoeib tweeted shortly after the incident that "when the resistance drops an enemy plane in our airspace, it will announce it in an official statement," stressing that anything else is just "unconfirmed news."
"What is certain is that the Resistance’s decision to try to prevent the enemy from persisting with its air violations is permanent," added Shoeib.
On Monday, Hezbollah announced that it had succeeded in downing a quadcopter belonging to the IDF after it entered Lebanese airspace in southern Lebanon near the town of Blida, located west of the Golan Heights.
Two quadcopters were also allegedly downed by terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip this week as well.
Two flights of airlines allegedly used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps to transfer weapons to Syria and Lebanon were reportedly spotted enroute from Tehran to Damascus on Wednesday by independent tracking sites. Often, alleged Israeli airstrikes are reported in Syria shortly after such flights. These strikes are often reportedly conducted from Lebanese airspace.
Since an alleged Israeli suicide drone attack in the suburbs of Beirut in 2019, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has reportedly warned that Israeli aircraft that enter Lebanese airspace would be shot down.
Despite the threat, sightings of Israeli aircraft are reported in Lebanese airspace by local media on a weekly, if not daily, basis. A couple of quadcopters have been shot down near the border, but larger aircraft have reportedly flown in the airspace undamaged. Shortly after the incident on Wednesday, Israeli aircraft were once again reported in Lebanese airspace.
Tensions have been high along Israel's borders with Syria and Lebanon since last July, when a Hezbollah terrorist was killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike in Damascus. Hezbollah threatened revenge and the IDF has been on alert along the borders with Lebanon and Syria since, with a number of incidents of attempted infiltrations and the placement of explosives next to the border with Syria.
Tensions are also high in the region in the aftermath of the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh just east of Tehran, which Iran blames on Israel, and the recent one year anniversary of the US assassination of former IRGC Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani. Fears that the US may return to the nuclear deal with Iran have also raised concerns, with IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi stating last week that he had ordered operational plans to strike Iran’s nuclear program to be ready if necessary.
Iran has reportedly attempted to target Israeli embassies recently in response, with an explosion reported next to the Israeli embassy in New Delhi last week carried out by a terror organization called Jaish-ul-Hind, believed to be affiliated with Iran.

Reuters contributed to this report.