Hezbollah claims to have shot down Israeli drone in Lebanese airspace

Iran-backed armed group and political party holds significant sway in Lebanon

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Hezbollah said it shot down an Israeli drone which entered Lebanese airspace on Monday.

In a short statement shared with The National, the Iran-backed Lebanese armed group and political party said the drone was destroyed near the town of Zibqin in southern Lebanon.

The Israeli military also said: “A short while ago, an IDF drone fell in Lebanese territory during routine activity.”

Hezbollah is a powerful, heavily armed Shiite group in Lebanon and holds significant sway in the country. One of its main strongholds is in southern Lebanon.

It is a sworn enemy of Israel. The two sides fought a deadly month-long war against each other in 2006, but have largely refrained from hostilities since then. Hezbollah was the only militia from the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war allowed to keep its weapons.

Israel shot down three unarmed Hezbollah drones last summer that were heading towards a contested gasfield.

Last month, Hezbollah made a show of force by staging a large-scale military manoeuvre in the south of the country.

Hezbollah was founded in the 1980s largely in response to Israel's presence in southern Lebanon. As well as its armed wing, it also holds a number of seats in the Lebanese parliament.

Updated: June 26, 2023, 1:43 PM