An Israeli drone fell in the Hezbollah-dominated southern suburbs of Beirut and a second one exploded near the ground early on Sunday, the Lebanese army and Hezbollah said, in the first such incident in more than a decade.
The Israeli military declined to comment.
The second drone caused some damage when it crashed before dawn close to Hezbollah’s media center in the Dahiyeh suburbs of Lebanon’s capital Beirut, a Hezbollah official told Reuters.
The incident took place hours after the Israeli military said its aircraft had struck Iranian forces and Shi’ite militias near Syria’s capital Damascus which it said had been planning to launch “killer drones” into Israel.
Local sources said that several ambulances and a firetruck were dispatched to the explosion site, which was reportedly secured by local fighters.
A few minutes after the explosion, a source in Hezbollah told the Reuters news agency that two Israeli drones crashed in the Southern Suburb. The source didn’t provide any additional information.
Photos of one of the Israeli drones surfaced online. The photos show a small quadcopter equipped with an unidentified device.
The 2nd suicide drone which was captured and thankfully failed to detonate
Very similar design to the drones which Israel uses to deploy tear gas in Gaza.
But what about the range ? pic.twitter.com/tNXdG2e7SW
— Syrian Military Capabilities (@Syrian_MC) August 24, 2019
The incident came a few hours only after a series of Israel airstrikes on the Syrian capital, Damascus. Sources close to Hezbollah said that at least four fighters of the Lebanese group were killed in the airstrikes.
A Hezbollah spokesman told Lebanon’s state news agency NNA the second drone was rigged with explosives causing serious damage to the media center. Hezbollah is now examining the first drone, he said.
The Lebanese army said that one Israeli drone fell and another exploded at 02:30 am local time (2330 GMT), causing only material damage.
“The army arrived immediately and cordoned off the area where the two drones fell,” it said.
Israel deems the heavily armed Shi’ite Hezbollah movement, backed by Iran, as the biggest threat across its border. They fought a month-long war in 2006 in which nearly 1,200 people, mostly civilians, died in Lebanon and 158 people died in Israel, mostly soldiers.
Lebanon has complained to the United Nations about Israeli planes regularly violating its airspace in recent years.
Israel has grown alarmed by the rising influence of its regional foe Iran during the war in neighboring Syria, where Tehran and Hezbollah provide military help to Damascus.
Israel says its air force has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria against what it calls Iranian targets and arms transfers to Hezbollah.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the strikes in Syria on Saturday thwarted a planned Iranian attack in Israel.
Syrian state media said air defenses confronted the “aggression” and the army said most of the Israeli missiles were destroyed.