Hezbollah leader vows that the terrorist group will down Israeli drones
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Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah says two Lebanese people were killed in Israel’s overnight strikes on Syria, and that the drone attacks were meant for specific Hezbollah targets in Damascus’ southern suburbs, breaching an agreement on the rules of engagement between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006.
He says that Hezbollah did not target the Israeli drones, but moving forward, the groups will “down any Israeli drones in Lebanon’s skies.”
He added, “We are now in a new phase in the conflict with Israel.”
Earlier on Sunday, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri condemned Israel sending drones that fell over southern Beirut as a “blatant attack on Lebanon’s sovereignty.”
“This new aggression… forms a threat to regional stability and an attempt to push the situation towards more tension,” Hariri in a statement.
Hariri also charged that it was in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended a 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
One drone came down and another exploded early Sunday in a Hezbollah stronghold in the south Beirut, Hezbollah said.
Lebanese security forces cordoned off the area, a few dozen metres from a Hezbollah media centre, as residents gathered.
Lebanon and Israel are technically still at war, and Beirut regularly accuses its neighbour of violating its airspace with planes and drones.
Iran-backed Hezbollah, a major political player in Lebanon, is considered a terrorist organisation by Israel and the US.
In recent years, hostilities have spilled over into Syria, where the group, like Iran, another long-time enemy of Israel, is fighting on the side of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Since the beginning of the war in Syria in 2011, Israel has conducted hundreds of strikes in Syria, most of them against what it says are Iranian and Hezbollah targets.
Iraq’s Hashed al Shaabi accused Israel of a deadly drone attack on Sunday, in which two of its were killed.
It is the first time the paramilitary force directly blamed the Jewish state after a series of blasts hit bases run by it.
“As part of the string of Zionist attacks on Iraq, the evil Israeli crows have returned to target the Hashed al Shaabi, this time with two drones inside Iraqi territory,” the statement said.
The deaths come after a month of mysterious blasts at Hashed al Shaabi arms depots and training camps that some of the force’s top officials blamed on the US.
“Two unidentified drones targeted a Brigade 45 position belonging to the Hashed al Shaabi in the Anbar district, 15 kilometres (10 miles) from the Iraqi-Syrian border,” the statement said.
The attack “killed two fighters from the unit, wounded another and burned two vehicles,” it added.
The Hashed was established from disparate armed groups and volunteers that united to fight back the Daesh’s sweep across a third of Iraq in 2014.
The network is mostly Shia and has received Iranian training, but it operates officially under Iraq’s armed forces and uses military unit names.