The leader of the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon has admitted that it sent a drone into Israel that was subsequently shot down by the Israeli air force.
Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah told the organisation’s al-Manar TV station that the pilotless reconnaissance plane was made in Iran.
“The resistance in Lebanon sent a sophisticated drone aircraft from Lebanon, we do not need to specify from exactly where. We flew the plane hundreds of kilometres above the sea and it breached the enemy’s high defences and entered southern Palestine. It flew over sensitive installations for tens of kilometres south until it was discovered by the enemy,” he said.
The drone was shot down on Saturday over a forest near the occupied West Bank.
The announcement from Hezbollah confirmed the Israeli Prime Minister’s earlier claim that the Iran-backed militants were responsible.
Speaking during a tour of Israel’s southern border with Egypt, Benjamin Netanyahu said they were acting with determination to defend Israeli borders: at sea; on land, and in the air where, he said, last weekend’s attempt by Hezbollah had been thwarted.
Hezbollah has launched a drone into Israel at least once before. Two years ago an Israeli warplane shot down an unmanned balloon.
Separately, Netanyahu has announced the date of Israel’s early general election for January 22.