Israeli jet shoots down unmanned drone

 

Jerusalem

The Israeli air force has shot down an unmanned “enemy” drone over its airspace, with suspicion immediately falling on Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group which boasted about a similar incursion seven months ago.

The action, just after lunchtime today, forced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was travelling in an air force helicopter, to land before an F-16 aircraft shot the drone down some five nautical miles of the coast of the northern Israeli city of Haifa.

In a statement, Mr Netanyahu, said: “I view with utmost gravity this attempt to violate our border. We will continue to do everything necessary to safeguard the security of Israel's citizens.”

The Israeli military would not confirm Hezbollah's involvement, but have identified the drone as being an “enemy” aircraft. A spokesman for the Israeli military, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, said the area was being searched from remnants of the aircraft and that it was not possible at this stage to confirm which the group it had belonged to.

Hezbollah, with which Israel fought a six-week war in 2006, boasted in October last year that it had sent another drone into Israeli airspace, which was subsequently destroyed, and that it had other unmanned aircraft at its disposal. At the time, the group's leader Hasan Nasrallah said that the Iranian-designed drones had been assembled in Lebanon, asserting Hezbollah's right to launch the drones in response to Israeli jets' frequent incursion into Lebanese airspace.

Tensions on the border between the two countries have risen in recent months, keeping pace with the escalation of the civil war in Syria. Hezbollah, an ally of the Assad regime, is thought to be playing an ever increasingly role in the conflict - a move that has increased nervousness in the Jewish state.

Israel almost certainly destroyed military hardware - probably surface-to-air missile launchers - inside Syria during an air raid in February and has warned consistently that it will prevent what it considers to be dangerous weapons and equipment getting into Hezbollah's hands. The Israeli military does not comment on its missions. Israel and the United States consider Hezbollah to be a terrorist organisation. Several European countries are lobbying the EU to adopt a similar stance.

Hezbollah's spokesman in Lebanon, Ibrahim Moussawi, told the Associated Press that he had no information on today's incident, adding the group would put out a statement if it had further details. Hezbollah TV said the militant group has denied sending the drone. It was several days after the October incursion that Hasan Nasrallah confirmed Hezbollah's role.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Administrator - Swedish Speaking

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join an awa...

Recruitment Genius: Facilities Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Facilities Manager is required to join the m...

Recruitment Genius: New Business Sales Consultant - Mobile - OTE £35,000

£14000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent telecoms compa...

Recruitment Genius: New Business Sales Consultant - Unified - OTE £35,000

£14000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent telecoms compa...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum