Two Israeli drones come down in Beirut: Hezbollah

Two Israeli drones come down in Beirut: Hezbollah

An Israeli drone came down and another exploded in a Hezbollah stronghold in the south of the Lebanese capital Beirut, an official from the group said.

Residents of the Iranian-backed group’s stronghold in southern Beirut reported one large explosion that shook the area early on Sunday, triggering a fire.

They said the nature of the blast in the Moawwad neighborhood was not immediately clear, but said it may have been caused by the drone that went down in the area amid Israeli air activity in neighbouring Syria.

The Hezbollah official, who spoke to Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity, said the drone crashed before dawn close to the organisation’s media centre in the suburb of Dahyeh.

Residents told the Associated Press AP they heard an aircraft flying just before the blast and reported later that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group sealed off the area. 

One building appeared to be slightly damaged where the drone went down. A man was seen taking away metal parts in a white plastic bag that he said contained parts of the aircraft that went down.

The Israeli military said it does not comment on “foreign reports”.

Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, reporting from Beirut, said it was “a densely populated neighbourhood in the Lebanese capital and also a Hezbollah stronghold”.

Israeli warplanes regularly violate Lebanese airspace and have struck inside neighboring Syria from Lebanon on numerous occasions.

Israeli attacks

Late on Saturday, the Israeli military attacked targets near Syria’s capital of Damascus in what it said was a successful effort to thwart an imminent Iranian drone strike on Israel, stepping up an already heightened campaign against Iranian military activity in the region.

The strike, which triggered Syrian anti-aircraft fire, appeared to be one of the most intense attacks by Israeli forces in several years of hits on Iranian targets in Syria.

Lt-Col Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, said Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Al Quds force, working with allied Shia fighters, had been planning to send a number of explosives-laden attack drones into Israel.

Syrian state TV said the country’s air defences responded to “hostile” targets over Damascus and shot down incoming missiles before they reached their targets.

In recent days, US officials have said that Israeli strikes have also hit Iranian targets in Iraq.

Hezbollah and Israel fought a month-long war in 2006. The volatile border between the two countries, which remain technically in a state of war, has been mostly calm since.

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