On May 25, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) announced that it had downed a drone that crossed the frontline with Lebanon.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a brief statement that the drone was downed near the settlement of Zar’it, adding that it was tracked by Israeli air defenses.
“The IDF will continue to act to prevent any violation of the sovereignty of the State of Israel,” the statement reads.
The IDF released a photo of the drone, which was identified as a Chinese-made DJI Mavic 3 quadcopter. The commercially-available drone has an endurance of up to 46 minutes and an operational range of 15 kilometers. The DJI Mavic 3, which costs around $2,199, is equipped with two high definition cameras, which means that it can be used for reconnaissance.
The incident came amid high tensions on the Israeli-Lebanese front. On May 21, Hezbollah held a military exercise at a camp near the southern Lebanese town of Mleeta, which is located some 20 kilometers away from the frontline. The group showcased heavy weapons, including multiple rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles, man-portable air defense systems and drones, during the exercise.
Later on May 23, the IDF dropped leaflets over southern Lebanon warning people against approaching the frontline, in what appears to be a response to Hezbollah’s exercise.
The drone was likely launched by Hezbollah. The Lebanese group used commercial drones in the past to monitor Israel troops along the frontline. On April 7, one such drone was shot down by the IDF over the Israeli side of the frontline. Back then, Tel Aviv didn’t escalate.
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