Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement says it has flown a reconnaissance drone over northern Israel on Friday, adding that the UAV returned intact after completing the mission.
A statement said that the group launched the “Hassan” drone into “the occupied Palestinian territories” on a reconnaissance mission lasting 40 minutes, which extended along 70 kilometers.
“Despite all of the enemy’s numerous and consecutive attempts to down it, the aircraft ‘Hassan’ returned from the occupied territories safely after carrying out the required mission successfully,” the statement added.
The Israeli military confirmed that a drone had entered its airspace from Lebanon and that an interceptor missile failed to down it.
“It is clear from the preliminary investigation that earlier today, a small drone was spotted inside Lebanon, flying toward Israeli territory,” Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee tweeted.
“Helicopters and warplanes were summoned, in addition to launching an interceptor missile from the Iron Dome without being able to intercept it,” he added. “Investigations revealed that it was a small Hezbollah recon drone.”
Israeli fighter jets were later seen flying low over Lebanon’s capital Beirut according to witnesses causing a loud sound, and was said to be the lowest overflight in years reported Reuters. The day before the incident, Israel claimed it had downed a drone belonging to Hezbollah.
The “Hassan” drone was reportedly named after Hassan Laqqis, who was assassinated by Mossad in 2013 and was a military commander for Hezbollah credited with developing the movement’s drone and air force unit.
Friday’s incident follows Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah’s announcement on Wednesday that the movement has the ability to convert thousands of rockets into precision missiles and drones with the cooperation of “experts from the Islamic Republic of Iran”.
According to an article yesterday in The Jerusalem Post, Hezbollah’s increased use of drones to “harass Israel” could potentially be for testing defenses in a future conflict.