Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Towards a "Third Intifada"?

Read more

FOCUS

What solutions for California's overcrowded prisons?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza conflict: Palestinians mark sombre Eid

Read more

WEB NEWS

Celebrities in the Israel-Gaza crossfire

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Israeli strike takes out Gaza power station

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French newspaper apologises for Sarkozy story

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Last-ditch talks aim to avert Argentina default

Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • Scores feared dead in India landslide

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • Israel says it is 'days' from completing Gaza tunnel hunt

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    Read more

  • Argentina fails to reach deal with holdout creditors

    Read more

  • Women should not laugh in public, Turkey's deputy PM says

    Read more

  • Suspect in Jewish Museum attack charged with 'terrorist' murder

    Read more

  • Fourth female suicide bomber targets Nigerian city

    Read more

  • US rebounds to 4% growth in second quarter

    Read more

  • Video: Coping with rocket attacks in Israel’s Sderot

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

  • France evacuates nationals, closes embassy in Libya

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

Middle east

Hezbollah admits launching drone over Israel

© AFP

Video by Catherine VIETTE

Latest update : 2012-10-12

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah (pictured) said Thursday that his Shiite militant group launched the Iranian-built drone which entered Israeli airspace last week. The drone travelled hundreds of miles from Lebanon before being shot down.

The leader of Hezbollah claimed responsibility Thursday for launching the drone aircraft that entered Israeli airspace earlier this week, a rare and provocative move by the Lebanese militants at a time of soaring regional tensions.

Israeli warplanes shot down the unmanned plane, but the infiltration marked a rare breach of Israel’s airspace. Hezbollah had been the leading suspect because of its arsenal of sophisticated Iranian weapons and a history of trying to deploy similar aircraft.

“Today we are uncovering a small part of our capabilities, and we shall keep many more hidden,” Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised address. “It is our natural right to send other reconnaissance flights inside occupied Palestine ... This is not the first time and will not be the last. We can reach any place we want” inside Israel, he said.

With a formidable arsenal that rivals that of the Lebanese army, Hezbollah is already under pressure in Lebanon from rivals who accuse it of putting Lebanon at risk of getting sucked into regional turmoil. Confirmation that Hezbollah was behind the drone could put the group under further strain internally as it pursues its longstanding conflict with Israel.

Israel routinely sends F-16s into over Lebanon, breaking the sound barrier over Beirut and other places as a show of strength.

Hezbollah, a powerful Shiite group committed to Israel’s destruction, has long served as an Iranian proxy along Israel’s northern border. The two sides fought a brutal monthlong war in mid-2006. Hundreds of people were killed, and Hezbollah fired several thousand rockets and missiles into Israel before the conflict ended in a stalemate.

Hezbollah has attempted to send unmanned aircraft into Israel on several occasions, dating back to 2004. Nasrallah has claimed that the group’s pilotless aircraft were capable of carrying explosives and striking deep into Israel.

The last known attempt by Hezbollah to use a drone took place during the 2006 war, when Israel shot down an Iranian-made pilotless aircraft that entered its airspace.

Since the fighting ended, the sides have been locked in a covert battle against one another.

Touring southern Israel on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised efforts to prevent land infiltrations from Egypt. He mentioned that Israel has been equally successful “in the air, just like we thwarted the Hezbollah attempt last weekend,” his first public statement blaming Hezbollah.

Israel says the drone was not carrying explosives and appeared to be on a reconnaissance mission.

(AP)

Date created : 2012-10-11

  • MIDDLE EAST

    Netanyahu urges UN to draw ‘red line’ for nuclear Iran

    Read more

  • SYRIA – LEBANON

    Are Hezbollah's mysterious 'martyrs' dying in Syria?

    Read more

  • LEBANON

    Hezbollah members killed in arms depot explosion

    Read more

COMMENT(S)