Hezbollah has confirmed that it launched three drones from Lebanon at the disputed Karish naval gas field, which is currently held by Israel.
The drones, which approached the gas field on July 2, were all intercepted by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). One of the drones was shot down by a F-16 fighter jet of the Israeli Air Force, while the two others were shot down with Barak missiles launched from the Israeli Navy’s Sa’ar 5-class corvette Eilat.
In a statement, Hezbollah revealed that the drones were not armed. According to the group, the drones were on a reconnaissance mission.
“The units of martyrs Jamil Skaf and Mehdi Yaghi launched three drones of different sizes towards the disputed area at Karish field to carry out reconnaissance missions and the mission was accomplished, as such the message was delivered. Victory is only from God, the Mighty, the Mighty,” the statement reads.
Jamil Skaf is one of the pioneers of Hezbollah’s air force. He was killed in 1994 while training to carry out a suicide attack inside Israel with a glider. On the other hand, Mehdi Yaghi was just a fighter of Hezbollah who was killed while fighting the rebels in Syria in 2013.
The IDF released several videos showing the interception of Hezbollah drone. The army said in a statement that the drones did not pose a real threat at any point.
The dispute over Karish heated up last month when the Greek-owned Energean Power FPSO [Floating Production Storage Offloading] reached the field to extract gas for Israel. Lebanon claims that at least a part of Karish is within its exclusive economic zone. Hezbollah and Israel exchanged threats over the issue.
By flying its drones near Karish, Hezbollah clearly wanted to send a serious warning to the IDF. This came amid progress in US-backed talks on the demarcation of the naval borders between Lebanon and Israel. The IDF could soon send its own message to Hezbollah.
It’s worth noting that the Karish drone incident came just hours after a series of Israeli airstrikes on the western Syrian governorate of Tartus. The airstrikes target several poultry farms in the outskirts of the town of the al-Hamidiyah, which is located a few kilometers to the north of the border with Lebanon. Unverified reports said that Hezbollah used to store weapons in the farms.
- Israeli Army Intercepts Three Hezbollah Drones Near Disputed Gas Field (Video)
- Israeli Airstrikes Target Chicken Farms In Syria’s Tartus (Photos)