Investigators from Lebanon's military intelligence inspect the site where two drones crashed in south Beirut. (Photo: EPA)
Early on Sunday, two Israeli drones crashed into the southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon. The attack caused some material damage but did not result in any human casualties or injuries. Lebanese officials and the Hezbollah’s representatives termed the crossing of Israeli drones into Lebanese airspace a grave violation, amounting to “aggression” against Lebanese sovereignty.
The Lebanese army has stated that the two drones crashed in the Dahiyeh suburb, hours after Israel attacked Syrian targets near the capital, Damascus. The Israeli government has claimed that its actions were purportedly aimed at preventing an Iranian drone attack on its territory. However, the Israeli air force has repeatedly and regularly violated Lebanese and Syrian airspace in order to target Syrian government positions and those of its allies, like Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Hezbollah spokesperson Mohammed Afif said that one of the drones fell on the roof of a building that was housing Hezbollah’s media office in the Moawwad neighborhood in Dahiyeh. He described it as a small, unmanned, reconnaissance drone which caused massive damage inside the office. The second drone exploded in the air and crashed nearby, approximately 45 minutes after the first one. Afif confirmed to reporters that Hezbollah did not shoot down any of the drones and the captured drone was under analysis.
Dahiyeh residents reported hearing a loud blast from an explosion, which they claim shook the entire area. They also told the Associated Press that they had heard an aircraft flying over the area moments before the blast. This area was later sealed off by Hezbollah.
Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, in a statement said that, “This new aggression … forms a threat to regional stability and an attempt to push the situation towards more tension.” He called upon the international community to “bear the responsibility of defending resolution 1701 against Israeli breaches and its repercussions.”
The president of Lebanon, Michel Aoun, also released a statement saying that “the Israeli attack is the latest in a string of repeated Israeli breaches of UN Resolution 1701 and a clear indication of Israeli aggressive acts aimed at undermining peace and stability in Lebanon and the region.”
The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, responded to the news of the drones attack in Beirut by saying that the two drones were on a “suicide mission” and that “Hezbollah will not allow such an aggression.” He added that “the time when Israeli aircraft come and bomb parts of Lebanon is over.” He also indicated that Hezbollah will take it upon itself to shoot down any Israeli drones in Lebanon’s skies.
A day after the drones attack in Beirut, the Israeli air force conducted airstrikes on military positions belonging to a Palestinian group in eastern Lebanon, near the Syrian border. A Lebanese security source reported that the positions, situated in the Bekaa valley town of Qusaya, were held by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP). He also informed that no injuries were sustained during the attack. This was confirmed by a PFLP official in Qusaya who added that at least three air strikes had hit their military positions, however, caused only material damage.
The Lebanese Communist Party has condemned the Zionist aggression in Beirut, transgressions into Lebanese airspace and the invasion of its territory. The party, in a statement, has said that “this aggression confirms the permanent intentions of the enemy and its sponsors, their ambitions and their nature are based on aggression, murder and expansion. Faced with this, there is only one option, that of resistance. There is no way to deter them and this aggression coincides with the anniversary of Lebanon’s victory over the Zionist enemy. Therefore, the Lebanese Communist Party condemns this aggression, and calls on all the resistance forces to work together for the defense of Lebanon against imperialist and Zionist projects targeting Palestine and the region.”