IDF Shot Down Drone That Entered Israeli Airspace Near Lebanese Border

The Israeli military shot down a drone crossing into Israeli airspace from Lebanon, the IDF spokesperson said on Jan. 22. The military said it kept the identified UAV under observation as it advanced toward the Israeli airspace and took it out when it crossed from Lebanon into Israel. 

The incident happened shortly after a strike in Syria allegedly carried out by the IDF. A statement by the military said the IDF will carry on with thwarting any act of violence that poses a threat to Israel. 

With tensions high between Israel and Hezbollah, drone activities are common around the border.

In Dec. 2020, the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah said it flew an unmanned aerial vehicle into the Israeli airspace and made videos of two military bases close to the border. 

According to Hezbollah’s TV channel, the video was captured when the IDF was performing the “Lethal Arrow” drill in October that involved a war simulation against Hezbollah in the northern region.

The terror group further said that their drone landed in Lebanon, unidentified, unexposed, and unharmed.

The recent drone episode came a few hours following a report by the Syrian media that Israel had carried out airstrikes on a selected site in the vicinity of Hama in northwestern Syria.

It is worth noting that it is the first episode of targeted airstrikes by the IDF against Syria after US President Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021. Furthermore, it was the fifth strike that the Israeli military carried out during the past month. 

While the exact target hit inside Syria is yet to be known, the IDF has frequently bombed targets having linkages to Iran’s nuclear and missile manufacturing efforts in Hama in the past. 

Syria’s state news network SANA said four civilians belonging to the same family were killed during the Israeli airstrikes, calling the incident “Israeli aggression.” The news outlet further alleged that the attacks destroyed about three houses in Hama’s suburbs. 

The strikes were carried out at around 4 o’clock on the morning of Jan. 22. The Syrian media said missiles were flying in from Tripoli’s direction in Lebanon and were aimed at targets within Hama. The Syrian air defence system neutralized and downed most of the missiles, the state news outlet claimed.

Meanwhile, the Syrian military has not clearly attributed the “deaths of civilians” and “destruction of houses” to the Israeli strikes. 

Security analysts think it is likely that the casualties and destruction were caused due to the misfiring of surface-to-air missiles by the Syrian military or by shrapnels. The air defence systems of Syria have killed many Syrian civilians in the past.

Tensions have been high on Israel’s borders with Lebanon and Syria since the killing of a Hezbollah fighter in an Israeli attack near Damascus in July 2020. 

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz had then vowed that while Israel is committed to peace in the region, the IDF will respond strongly to whoever violates Israel’s sovereignty.