BEIRUT – After the loud sound of a low-flying jet startled residents of Beirut Friday evening, a Hezbollah spokeswoman told L'Orient Today that it had been an Israeli warplane. Reuters reported a similar statement from an unnamed security source. The Lebanese Army did have any immediate statement on the incident, but an army source told L'Orient Today that the plane did not belong to the Lebanese Armed Forces and was "probably" Israeli.
Here’s what we know:
• “On Friday, Hezbollah launched the drone ‘Hasan’ inside the occupied Palestinian territories and toured the targeted area for forty minutes in a reconnaissance mission that extended along seventy kilometers north of occupied Palestine,” a statement from Hezbollah read.
• “Despite all the multiple and successive attempts by the enemy to shoot it, the Hasan aircraft returned from the occupied territories safely after the required mission was carried out successfully,” it continued.
• Earlier on Friday, an Arabic language spokesman for the Israeli army tweeted that “a small enemy drone from Lebanon infiltrated Israel, and alarm sirens went on in the Galilee region,” adding that Israel fired interceptor missiles from the Iron Dome system.
• This came on the heels of a similar incident on Thursday, when the Israeli army had tweeted that it had shot down a drone belonging to Hezbollah.
• Drones have become an increasingly favored tool in Hezbollah’s arsenal. In a speech delivered on Wednesday, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah announced that the groups had been producing drones locally. He also noted that Hezbollah was now able to convert its rockets into precision rockets, and that it had been doing this for years now.