Lebanon is blaming Israel for what it claimed was an air strike early Sunday on a crashed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV, or drone) in the western Beka’a Valley.
According to a report broadcast on the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar TV channel, an Israeli reconnaissance drone allegedly crashed overnight in a remote area of the valley. Lebanese security source told Al-Manar the IAF targeted in the drone in an air strike early Sunday in order to ensure it would be destroyed, but gave no further details.
The official Lebanese news agency reported that an explosion was heard in the area and that witnesses reported air strikes as well. Lebanese military personnel traveled to the site of the crash to inspect the remains, according to the report, but no further details were provided. A “proper investigation” is yet to be carried out, the sources said. No information was provided on whether or not there were any casualties.
Lebanese security sources told the Reuters news agency that a blast near the town of Saghbein “is still not 100 percent clear” but added that “most probably it was an Israeli strike to destroy their drone.”
Earlier in the day, Aljazeera had also reported the IAF had attacked the area but like others added few details.
Despite all of the above, however, a report published Sunday in the Lebanese Daily Star indicates the truth may be different. Photos of the reported drone published on media websites “show Cyrillic script on a piece of the wreckage, indicating that the drone may have been manufactured either in Russia or elsewhere in Eastern Europe,” the website reported.
Local sources claimed Israel was flying drones over southern Lebanon and Mount Hermon throughout the day on Sunday, but the reports were unconfirmed.
Residents of the area said they spotted an Israeli plane hovering over the southern region near Adloun just moments before the explosion, and eyewitnesses in the area told the Daily Star they saw planes coming from the direction of Mount Hermon. No casualties were reported.
Israeli military sources have declined to comment.
Hana Levi Julian