Lebanon’s Hezbollah group says it shot down Israeli drone

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group said its fighters shot down an Israeli drone on Monday over a southern village near the border with Israel. The Israeli military did not confirm the shootdown but said a drone had crashed on Lebanese territory.

Tensions in the region have been rising over the past months amid Israeli airstrikes on Iran-backed fighters in neighboring Syria. Hezbollah has also vowed to respond for the killing of one of its fighters in an Israeli strike in Syria last year.

Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV said the drone was shot down after it entered Lebanon’s air space and crashed in the village of Blida, near the border with Israel. Hezbollah fighters now have the unmanned aircraft, the report said.

The Israeli military said the drone was on operational activity along the border before it crashed. “There is no risk of breach of information,” the military added.

Israeli warplanes and drones violate Lebanon’s airspace almost daily, sometimes to carry out airstrike in neighboring Syria. The frequency of low-flying warplanes over Beirut and other parts of Lebanon has intensified in the past weeks, making residents jittery as tensions run high in the region.

Israel and Hezbollah fought to a draw in a month-long war in Lebanon in 2006. Hezbollah has in the past claimed downing Israeli drones.

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