On July 6, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) announced that it shot down a drone of Hezbollah that was heading from Lebanon towards the disputed Karish naval gas field.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that the drone was shot down just days before July 2, when three drones launched by Hezbollah were intercepted near Karish. According to the unit, the drone was shot down at a far distance from the naval gas field, without posing any threat or danger to Israel.
In a statement on the July 2 drone incident, Hezbollah said that the drones were not armed and were only counducting a reconnaissance mission. The group described the mission as a “message” to Israel.
Hezbollah is yet to comment on the new Israeli announcement. However, Lebanese Al-Akhbar, that is close to Hezbollah, reported on July 6 that the group had launched a drone towards Karish on June 29. Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar TV reporter Ali Shoeib claimed that the said drone was not downed and returned without being hit.
The Lebanese-Israeli dispute over Karish heated up in June when the Greek-owned Energean Power FPSO [Floating Production Storage Offloading] reached the field to extract gas. Lebanon claims that at least a part of Karish is within its exclusive economic zone.
Following the arrival of the vessel, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel against extracting gas from the disputed field.
US is currently facilitating indirect talks between Lebanon and Israel on the disputed maritime zone. Despite recent escalation, Lebanon seems to be optimistic about the outcome of the talks. During a recent interview, the country’s foreign minister said that maritime agreement with Israel could as close as in September.
- Despite Escalation, Lebanon Says Maritime Agreement With Israel Can Be Reached In September
- Hezbollah Reveals Drones Launched At Karish Were Not Armed, Says It Was Message To Israel