Hizbullah Says Explosive-Laden Drone Damaged its Media Center in Dahiyeh
Hizbullah on Sunday said one of two drones that came down over its Beirut southern suburbs stronghold was rigged with explosives and caused damage to its media center.
"The first drone fell without causing damage while the second one was laden with explosives and exploded causing huge damage to the media center," Hizbullah spokesman Mohamed Afif said.
The early morning incident came hours after Israel launched air strikes in neighboring Syria, but Hizbullah officials could not confirm if the drones deployed in Lebanon were Israeli.
"Hizbullah did not shoot down any drone," Afif said, in remarks carried by Lebanon's National News Agency.
"The first drone did not explode and it is now in the possession of Hizbullah which is analyzing it," he added.
Another Hizbullah source told AFP the Iran-backed group -- a major political player in Lebanon with representatives in parliament and the government -- has not determined if the drones were Israeli.
The Lebanese Army meanwhile confirmed that the drones were Israeli.
"Two drones belonging to the Israeli enemy violated Lebanese airspace (at dawn)... over the southern suburbs of Beirut. The first fell while the second exploded in the air causing material damage," an army statement said.
The army said it had sealed off the area and that the military police had opened an investigation.
Questioned by AFP, the Israeli army declined to comment on the Lebanese Army's claim about the drones.
Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is due to give a speech later in the day at a pre-scheduled group event.
"Hizbullah will give a staunch response during (Nasrallah's) speech," Afif said.
Lebanon and Israel are technically still at war, and Lebanon regularly accuses its Israel of violating its airspace with planes and drones.
Hizbullah has fought several conflicts with Israel.
The last confrontation was a 33-day war in 2006 that killed 1,200 in Lebanon and 160 in Israel.
In recent years those hostilities have spilled over into Syria, where Hizbullah -- like Israeli's arch-foe Iran -- is fighting on the side of the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
On Saturday night Israeli jets carried out strikes in Syria to prevent an Iranian force from launching an attack on Israel with drones armed with explosives, Israel's army said.
In recent days, U.S. officials have said that Israeli strikes have also hit Iranian targets in Iraq in what would be a significant expansion of Israel's campaign targeting Iranian military entrenchment in the region.