Hezbollah drone shot down over Israeli airspace

The Israeli military says a Hezbollah drone entered Israeli airspace from Lebanon on Tuesday morning and was shot down by Israeli forces.

The incident took place during a month-long military exercise called “Chariots of Fire”. Last week, the drill focused on combat training on Israel’s northern front, including against Hezbollah. The army will hold a similar exercise in the northern city of Haifa on Tuesday.

The IDF said in a statement that the air traffic control unit had tracked down the drone “throughout the incident” before it was shot down.

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A picture of a military-published drone shows a small quadcopter that appears to be a commercial model made by the Chinese company DJI.

The statement did not specify how the drone was shot down as it entered Israeli airspace.

The statement said, “The IDF will continue its activities to prevent any attempt to violate Israel’s sovereignty.”

There was no immediate word from Hezbollah or allied media on whether the drone had been shot down.

Artillery reserve troops take part in a drill on March 28, 2022, in the Golan Heights in northern Israel. (Michael Giladi / Flash 90)

A source in the security services said earlier this year that some drones used by Hezbollah for surveillance purposes were commercially available.

In February, helicopters and fighter jets came together to shoot down a drone sent by Hezbollah, after an Iron Dome interceptor missile missed it. The drone flew about 30 kilometers into Israeli airspace before returning to Lebanon unharmed, according to terrorist group sources.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah announced earlier this month that Iran-backed groups had begun building their own drones. “We have been building drones in Lebanon for a long time, and anyone who wants to buy them can place an order,” he said.

Lebanon and Israel are technically at war, and heavily guarded borders are regularly infiltrated by drones on both sides. Last month, Nasrallah claimed that Lebanon’s ability to fire Israeli drones had stopped regular drone infiltration across the border.

According to the Wala news site, at least 74 Hezbollah-powered drones entered Israeli territory last year, up from 94 in 2020 and 54 the previous year. Most of these drones have been shot down.

Lebanon regularly complains about the intrusion of Israeli surveillance drones into its airspace, but the IDF argues that such infiltration is necessary to track the activities of the Hezbollah terrorist group, which the Lebanese government is supposed to control.

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