News ID: 257795
Published: 0920 GMT August 25, 2019

Lebanon slams Israel drone 'aggression'

Lebanon slams Israel drone 'aggression'

International Desk

Ex-IRGC chief denies Iranian targets in Syria hit

Lebanon condemned an Israeli "aggression" after two drones Sunday targeted the Beirut stronghold of the Shia resistance movement Hezbollah, warning of further regional tensions.

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun, an ally of Hezbollah, said the drone incursion targeted "stability and peace in Lebanon and the region."

Prime Minister Saad Hariri condemned a "blatant attack on Lebanon's sovereignty."

"This new aggression... forms a threat to regional stability and an attempt to push the situation toward more tension," he said.

Hariri also said that it was in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah.

That month-long war killed nearly 1,200 people, mostly civilians, in Lebanon and 158 people in Israel, mostly soldiers.

Lebanon's Army said "two drones belonging to the Israeli enemy violated Lebanese airspace... over the southern suburbs of Beirut," a Hezbollah stronghold in the capital.

"The first fell while the second exploded in the air causing material damage," it said.

The Israeli military declined to comment.

Earlier Mohamed Afif, a Hezbollah spokesman, insisted the movement did not shoot down either of the two drones but said that one had damaged a Hezbollah media center.

"The first drone fell without causing damage while the second one was laden with explosives and exploded causing huge damage to the media center," Afif said.

"The first drone did not explode and it is now in the possession of Hezbollah which is analyzing it."

Lebanon has complained to the United Nations about Israeli planes regularly violating its airspace in recent years.


Israeli ‘lie’


The early morning incident in south Beirut came hours after Israel said it had conducted airstrikes in neighboring Syria to prevent what it claims Iranian forces from launching drone attacks.

An Israeli military spokesman said Israeli aircraft on Saturday struck Iranian forces near Damascus that had been planning to launch “killer drones” at targets in Israel.

In Tehran, a senior official denied on Sunday that Iranian targets had been hit in the Israeli airstrikes in Syria.

“This is a lie and not true. Israel and the United States do not have the power to attack Iran’s various centers, and our (military) advisory centers have not been harmed,” said Major General Mohsen Rezaei, who is also the secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council.

Iran says its military forces are in Syria as advisers and not fighting troops.

“The actions carried out jointly by Israel and the United States in Syria and Iraq are in breach of international law and will soon be answered by Syria and Iraq’s defenders,” said Rezaei, the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps in the 1980s and 1990s, who currently holds no military post.

Iraq’s paramilitary groups on Wednesday blamed a series of recent blasts at their weapons depots and bases on the United States and Israel.

Since the beginning of the war in Syria in 2011, Israel has conducted hundreds of strikes in Syria.

AFP and Reuters contributed to this story.



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