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Israel shoots down three drones launched by Hezbollah towards Karish gas field
The drones were launched after Israel rejected Lebanon's proposal to resolve a dispute over their maritime border
By News Desk - July 03 2022
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Scale model of a Hezbollah UAV at a museum located in Mleeta, southern Lebanon (Photo Credit: JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images)

On 2 July, the Israeli military intercepted three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) launched from Lebanon towards occupied Palestine.

In a statement, the Israeli army announced it shot down the drones, which were launched by Hezbollah, as they approached the airspace over Israel’s economic waters in the Mediterranean Sea.

“The UAVs belong to the Hezbollah terrorist army and flew from Lebanese territory in the direction of the Karish gas platform,” said the spokesman of the Israeli military.

The unmanned aircrafts were intercepted by an F-16C/D ‘Barak’ fighter jet and Israel’s Barak-8 maritime air defense system onboard its INS ‘Eilat’ missile ship.

This success marks the first ever operational interception by an Israeli navy missile ship using the joint Indian-Israeli air defense Barak-8 system.

Currently, the system is in service with the Azerbaijani, Indian, and Israeli militaries. Earlier in February, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced it will provide Morocco with the system in a $500 million deal.

On the other hand, one of the UAVs has been identified as a local version of Iran’s Mirsad-1 system which has been in service with Hezbollah since 2000.

The UAV is commonly known as the Samad drone in Yemen and identified by the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) as KAS-04.

This escalation was driven by Israel’s response to Lebanon’s maritime demands on 30 June, when the US mediator informed the Lebanese president of Israel’s counteroffer.

According to Al Akhbar, Israel rejected to barter between the Karish gas field and Qana prospect field, offering Lebanon to sell its share of Qana.

The offer was an explicit rejection of Lebanon’s demands to expand its maritime border to line 23 and have full control of the Qana gas field.

This drove Hezbollah to commit itself to Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s threats against Israel’s attempts to deny Lebanon its undersea riches.

“On Saturday afternoon, Jamil Skaff and Mahdi Yaghi group launched three unarmed UAVs of different sizes towards the disputed area at Karish field for a reconnaissance operation. The UAVs accomplished their intended goal and delivered a message,” Hezbollah’s military media said in a statement.

Jamil Skaff (Left) and Mahdi Yaghi (Right)

In return, the Israeli Defense Minster Benny Gantz issued a harsh statement accusing Hezbollah of hindering the ongoing maritime negotiations and driving Lebanon towards war.

“Israel will continue to protect its assets, and considers itself obligated and entitled to act and respond in the face of any attempt to harm it,” said Gantz

However the newly appointed Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid refrained from addressing the issue in his first speech as a prime minister.

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