HEZBOLLAH SAYS IT SENT DRONE OVER ISRAEL

Washington Times on October 11, 2012, published an AP report on the leaders of Hezbollah claiming responsibility for launching the drone aircraft that entered Israeli airspace earlier this week, a rare and provocative move by the Lebanese militants at a time of soaring regional tensions. Excerpts below:

Israeli warplanes shot down the unmanned plane, but the infiltration marked a rare breach of Israel’s airspace. Hezbollah was the leading suspect because of its arsenal of sophisticated Iranian weapons and a history of trying to deploy similar aircraft.

With a formidable arsenal that rivals that of the Lebanese army, Hezbollah is already under pressure in Lebanon from rivals who accuse it of putting Lebanon at risk of getting sucked into regional turmoil. Confirmation that Hezbollah was behind the drone could put the group under further strain internally as it pursues its longstanding conflict with Israel.

Israel routinely sends F-16s into over Lebanon, breaking the sound barrier over Beirut and other places as a show of strength.

Hezbollah, a powerful Shiite group committed to Israel’s destruction, long has served as an Iranian proxy along Israel’s northern border.

Hezbollah has attempted to send unmanned aircraft into Israel on several occasions, dating back to 2004. Sheik Nasrallah has claimed that the group’s pilotless aircraft were capable of carrying explosives and striking deep into Israel.

The last known attempt by Hezbollah to use a drone took place during the 2006 war, when Israel shot down an Iranian-made pilotless aircraft that had entered its airspace.

Touring southern Israel recently, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised efforts to prevent land infiltrations from Egypt. He mentioned that Israel has been equally successful “in the air, just like we thwarted the Hezbollah attempt last weekend,” his first public statement blaming Hezbollah.

Israel says the drone was not carrying explosives and appeared to be on a reconnaissance mission.

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One Response to “HEZBOLLAH SAYS IT SENT DRONE OVER ISRAEL”

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