Israel foils 'Imminent' Iranian killer drone attack by airstrike

Last Modified Monday, 26 August 2019 (12:18 IST)
Israel's military says it carried out airstrikes in to stop an attack by Iranian kamikaze drones. The Jewish state has, however, stayed silent on Lebanese reports that two Israeli drones crashed in southern Beirut.
Israel's military said on Sunday that its fighter jets attacked targets in Syria a day earlier in order to prevent what it described as a "very imminent" attack by Iran.
 
In a briefing to reporters, military spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said had, for months, been monitoring an Iranian plot to send explosive-laden attack drones into the Jewish-majority state.
 
He described the threat, which had allegedly been planned by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, the Al Quds force as well as allied Shiite militias, as "significant."
 
'Kamikaze' attack prevented
 
He added that the Israeli strikes were aimed at "a number of terror targets and military facilities" in the area southeast of Damascus.   
 
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said the air raids killed two Hezbollah members, an Iranian, and two other fighters. 
 
Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria
over the past years, but Saturday's appeared to be one of the most intense.
 
Silence over Beirut drones
 
Israel, meanwhile, refused to confirm reports that its military had sent drones into Lebanon early on Sunday morning, targeting the Beirut stronghold of the Iran-backed Shiite group Hezbollah.
 
A spokesperson for Lebanon's army said: "two drones belonging to the Israeli enemy violated Lebanese airspace ... the first fell while the second exploded in the air causing [only] material damage."
 
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said his group would make sure Israel sent no more drones over Beirut, calling the incident the first clear and dangerous violation of rules since Hezbollah and Israel fought a monthlong conflict in 2006 in which more than 1,300 people died.
 
He also confirmed the death of two Hezbollah members in the Israeli airstrikes in Syria and promised retaliation, speaking of a "new phase" in the conflict with Israel.
 
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri accused Israel of trying to stir up regional tensions.
 
"The new aggression ... constitutes a threat to regional stability and an attempt to push the situation towards further tension," Hariri said in a statement from his office.
 
Lebanon has complained to the United Nations about Israeli planes regularly violating its airspace in recent years.
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