Hezbollah drones launched at Mediterranean gasfield intercepted by Israeli military

Military sources confirm and say three drones shot down

The Energean drill ship entered the Karish natural gas field last month. Reuters
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Hezbollah launched three drones from Lebanon towards a Mediterranean gasfield on Saturday, the group said.

Hezbollah issued a statement after Israel said it had intercepted three unarmed drones.

“On Saturday afternoon, three unarmed drones were launched towards the disputed Karish field for reconnaissance missions,” Hezbollah said.

“The mission was accomplished,” it added, without mentioning any Israeli interception.

Israel military sources confirmed the launch and said it had shot down the three drones, which were unarmed and did not pose a risk.

One drone was intercepted by a fighter jet and the other two by a warship, the sources said.

“Three hostile drones approaching the airspace in Israel's economic waters have been intercepted,” the army said.

It said the drones were headed towards the Karish gasfield, which is partly claimed by Lebanon.

There has been a long-running dispute over the offshore gasfield, which was discovered a decade ago.

US-mediated talks about the countries' maritime boundaries began in 2020, but have made little progress.

The interceptions on Saturday were the first time an air defence system mounted on an Israeli naval ship had downed an incoming target, the military said.

Lebanon condemned Israel last month when a vessel operated by London-listed Greek energy firm Energean entered Karish field.

Israel claims that the field lies in its waters and is not part of the disputed area subject to continuing negotiations on the maritime border.

Hezbollah warned Energean against proceeding with its activities.

Lebanon and Israel resumed negotiations over their maritime border in 2020 but the process was stalled by Beirut's claim that the map used by the UN in the talks needed to be modified.

Lebanon initially demanded 860 square kilometres of territory in the disputed maritime area but then asked for an additional 1,430 square kilometres, including part of Karish.

Updated: July 03, 2022, 9:41 AM
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