A reconnaissance drone operated by the Israeli military crashed in a southern Lebanese village as Lebanon-Israel tensions heighten.
The drone abruptly crashed in Aaitaroun Sunday evening, raising the question of whether it was brought down deliberately from the Lebanese side while Israeli media claim the incident was caused by a technical failure.
The Israeli army said the drone fell during operational activity along the border, dismissing concern that “any information was leaked” after the crash.
The drone was one of numerous Israeli aircraft that have been consistently violating the Lebanese airspace these past few days, flying at low altitudes over various areas in South Lebanon, Nabatieh, Beqaa Valley, and Mount Lebanon.
On Saturday evening, the Lebanese Army stated that “20 Israeli enemy reconnaissance aircraft violated the Lebanese airspace on Friday and, on Saturday, 9 hostile air violations (probably Israeli) occurred.”
This comes after Israel has been reinforcing its military at the northern border with Lebanon, following its recent airstrike in Syria, which created unease in the region.
The said airstrike resulted in the death of a Hezbollah fighter. Consequently, the deadly attack prompted anticipation of retaliation by Hezbollah, which has previously vowed to return fire in response to any attack against its units.
Following the airstrike, Israeli officials have repeatedly warned of the repercussions of a military advance against their troops.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier on Sunday that Lebanon will be held responsible for any attack conducted on from within its territory.
This threat was reiterated on Monday when an alleged Hezbollah operation targeted an Israeli armored vehicle.
Although Hezbollah denied involvement, the alleged attack drew artillery fire from Israel and further intensified tensions on the border.
Notably, it was reported that Israel delivered a message to Hezbollah through Russia, saying that it did not intend to kill one of its fighters while warning against retaliation, but some Israeli officials have since denied this in Israeli media.