BEIRUT, Lebanon – Hezbollah sent a reconnaissance drone into Israeli territory Sunday in response to Israel’s repeated air violations of Lebanese airspace, the militant Islamic group announced.
In a statement faxed to The Associated Press, Hezbollah said a reconnaissance drone of the Islamic Resistance, the group’s military wing, carried out its first flights over “occupied northern Palestine, flying over several Zionist settlements, reaching the coastal settlement of Nahariya and returning safely to its base.”
“This qualitative and new achievement by the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon comes as part of a natural response to the Zionist enemy’s repeated and permanent violations of Lebanese airspace,” the statement said.
The Israeli army did not immediately comment on the claim.
Hezbollah did not describe the capabilities of its reconnaissance aircraft, say how many it had or provide any other details about the drone.
However, the statement pledged more such flyovers, saying they would be made “whenever the resistance wants as a means of legitimate confrontation of Zionist violations and attacks on Lebanese sovereignty.”
Since Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in May 2000, Israeli planes frequently have violated Lebanese airspace on reconnaissance missions, drawing anti-aircraft fire from the Lebanese army and Hezbollah guerrillas.