JERUSALEM (AP) – The Israeli military on Friday said it fired interceptor missiles and protectively scrambled warplanes after what it described as a drone launched from Lebanon crossed its tense northern border.
Hours later, investigations concluded the drone managed to return to Lebanon, the Israeli military said in a statement, stopping short of blaming Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group on launching the drone. In Lebanon, Hezbollah issued a statement saying it had sent the ‘Hassan’ drone inside Israel. It claimed the drone toured the targetted area for 40 minutes on a “re-connaissance mission that extended along 70 kilometres” inside the occupied territories.
“Despite the enemy’s multiple and successive attempts to shoot it down, the ‘Hassan’ plane returned from the occupied territories safely after it successfully carried out the required mission,” it said. Minutes after the Hezbollah announcement, Israeli fighter jet flying at very low altitude buzzed the Lebanese capital Beirut, jolting residents, rattling windows and setting off some car alarms.
The incident comes just a day after Israel shot down what it said was another drone, allegedly from Hezbollah. The military said in its statement that the incursion set off air raid sirens in northern Israel, and that Iron Dome interceptors were deployed and fighter jets were patrolling the skies.