Israel shoots down drone
JERUSALEM — Israel said on Thursday it shot down an unmanned aircraft that had entered Israeli air space off the northern coast near Haifa, the second such incident in nearly seven months.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a military spokesman, said the drone was first detected as it was flying along the coast of Lebanon toward Israel. When it became clear that the aircraft was not going to stop or change course, Israel dispatched helicopters and F-16 warplanes to destroy it about five miles off the coast as it was flying at an altitude of about 6,000 feet.
A naval search for the downed aircraft was under way.
Military officials said they suspect the drone was sent by Hezbollah. The Lebanese militant group issued a brief statement on its television station, Al-Manar, denying any role in the flight.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose helicopter happened to be flying in northern Israel at the time of the incident and was temporarily grounded as a precaution, said he viewed the attempted border breach with “utmost gravity.”
Both Israel and Lebanon use drones equipped with cameras to spy on one another.
Israel shot down a drone over the Negev desert in October. At the time, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah acknowledged responsibility for sending the unarmed aircraft, which he said had exposed weaknesses in Israel's air defense system because it was not shot until reaching land.
Hezbollah, with assistance from Iran, has been developing drones for years to spy on Israel or use in potential attacks. Its first drones were flown and shot down during the 2006 Lebanon War between Israel and the militant group.
Hezbollah maintains it is responding to Israeli jets and drones that routinely fly over Lebanon to conduct mock attacks and surveillance.
Israeli officials vowed to retaliate for the incident. It occurs at an increasingly tense time in the region amid a 2-year-old uprising in neighboring Syria
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Thousands in Spain protest ban on demonstrations, burning national flag
- China to investigate ex-leader’s top aide
- Russia enters push for peace in Syria talks
- Britain-Irish unity government in Northern Ireland saved by pledge of $3.2B in extra aid
- ‘Early Mona Lisa’ painting traced to English noble
- IS shoots down warplane in Syria, captures Jordanian pilot
- Kurds bring fight to Islamic State in contested Iraqi town
- Russia accuses NATO of trying to turn Ukraine
- Israel retaliates for sniper attack, kills Hamas militant
- Suicide attacks kill dozens in Iraq
- Cezanne likely to attract bidders