'US asks Israel to hold back on response to drone'

Lebanese paper reports US asked Israel to show restraint to not divert int'l attention from the alleged use of WMD in Syria.

Armed UAV predator drone 311 (photo credit: Courtesy of US Air Force)
Armed UAV predator drone 311
(photo credit: Courtesy of US Air Force)
The US has reportedly asked Israel not to immediately respond to the infiltration of its airspace by a Hezbollah drone that was shot down over Haifa Bay on Thursday, Lebanese paper An-Nahar reported on Saturday.
A Western diplomat in Beirut told the paper that Washington has called on Israel to exercise restraint, in part because the Americans don’t want to divert the attention of the international community from the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
According to the report, the Americans also reasoned that the drone caused no damage, and that before any response is exacted, those responsible for it must be found.
“The Israeli military command doesn’t treat drones launched from Lebanon lightly, since their goal may be not only taking pictures, but also an assassination of senior officials, military or political,” the paper quoted the official as saying.
On Friday, the official Lebanese National News Agency reported that the Lebanese Armed Forces and UNIFIL troops have increased their observation activities on the Israeli border.
According to Friday’s Lebanese report, IDF troops along the border were on high alert.
The report added that IAF jets and helicopters had been seen flying over towns in southern Lebanon on Friday.
Hezbollah denied sending the drone on Thursday.
“Hezbollah denies that it has sent any surveillance plane towards the occupied Palestinian land,” the Iranian-backed Shi’ite group said.
Asked whether Hezbollah was behind the incident, an IDF spokesman said an investigation was under way.
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.
Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.