Hezbollah says ‘untouched’ drone flew over Israel for 40 minutes: Statement

Israeli army failed to intercept drone despite scrambling Iron Dome, fighter jets

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The Israeli army said Friday that it activated the Iron Dome and scrambled fighter jets but failed to intercept a drone from Lebanon, which was later claimed by Iran-backed Hezbollah.

This was the second incident in as many days and comes after Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah said the group was making its own drones in Lebanon.

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Air raid sirens were sounded, sending residents into bomb shelters after “a radio-controlled aircraft crossed into Israeli airspace from Lebanon,” the Israeli army said in a statement.

“As a result... aerial defense systems were activated” and “after a few minutes, radar contact was lost with the aircraft,” it added, indicating that the drone was not intercepted.

Hezbollah later released a statement saying the drone named “Hassan” entered Israeli airspace on a reconnaissance mission for around 40 minutes before returning “untouched.”

But Israeli fighter jets were heard over Beirut late Friday, according to local residents.

The Israeli army had announced on Thursday it had shot down a drone that it said was launched into Israeli airspace by Hezbollah.

That came a day after Nasrallah had boasted about his organization’s new drone and missile capabilities.

In a speech, Nasrallah said “it is no secret to the Israelis... that we have the capacity to transform our missiles into precision missiles.”

“In Lebanon, for a long time, we have started to manufacture drones. Whoever wants to buy them can place an order,” he declared.

Lebanon and Israel are in a state of war and drones have become a regular feature of their heavily guarded border.

In January, Israeli security sources claimed that drones captured after being flown across the frontier from Lebanon had provided insights into Hezbollah’s growing aerial surveillance capabilities.

In July 2006, Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers, sparking a 34-day war with Israel that killed 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

It ended with a UN-backed ceasefire that saw the Lebanese army deploy along border areas.

Read more: UN Security Council issues veiled criticism of Lebanon’s Hezbollah

- With AFP

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