$2 million Israeli drone brought down by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon

Senior Israeli minister Benny Gantz says 'moment of truth' is approaching regarding attacks on the Lebanese border

The Hermes 450 manufactured by Israel's Elbit Systems is the type of drone that Hezbollah says it shot down. Reuters
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Hezbollah said on Sunday evening that it brought down an Israeli drone over southern Lebanon, the third such attack since the start of the Gaza war.

Iran-backed Hezbollah said that the drone, an Israeli Hermes 450, was “waging its attacks on our steadfast people”.

The Hermes 450 is a multi-payload drone manufactured by Elbit Systems, an Israeli weapons manufacturer. It is estimated to cost about $2 million.

“It's a new achievement in the ongoing confrontation,” Kassem Kassir, a political analyst told The National.

The Israeli army confirmed on Monday that one of its drones was shot down by Hezbollah over southern Lebanon. It added that an air strike was carried out against the launch site of the surface-to-air missile.

This was the third time Hezbollah has announced shooting down an Elbit Hermes 450 with a surface-to-air missile.

Israel is one of the largest operators of drones in the Middle East and it is also a net exporter of the technology. In eight years, Israel exported $4.6 billion worth of unmanned aerial vehicles to countries such as Britain, India and Uganda, according to Israeli media.

War cabinet minister Benny Gantz said the “moment of truth” is approaching regarding a military response to Hezbollah, which initiated what it calls a “pressure front” on October 8th with the stated objective of diverting Israel from its Gaza incursion.

“This is the operative front with the greatest and most urgent challenge, and this is how we must treat it,” Mr Gantz said in a speech on Sunday, as reported by The Jerusalem Post.

Israel has repeatedly warned Lebanon of a wider conflict unless Hezbollah withdraws from southern Lebanon, allowing the return of tens of thousands of Israelis displaced by violence along the northern border.

Hezbollah is significantly more powerful than Hamas, which Israel has been fighting for the past six months, and has become a crucial Iranian proxy in the region.

Amid escalating tensions across the Middle East following Iran's rocket and drone attack on Israel last week, Hezbollah has intensified its attacks against Israeli military positions.

Last week, a Hezbollah attack on the Israeli border community of Arab Al Aramshe wounded at least 13 Israeli soldiers and killed one. This was the highest number of casualties inflicted by Hezbollah in a single attack since the border bombings began.

Lebanon-Israel cross-border fire has killed at least 370, including more than 240 Hezbollah fighters and 68 civilians, according to a Reuters tally.

Eighteen Israelis, including soldiers and civilians, have been killed on the Israeli side of the border, according to Israeli authorities, who do not systemically disclose figures.

Updated: April 23, 2024, 6:36 AM