- Survivors recall chaos, fear in Everest avalanche
- General Mills apologizes for ‘right to sue’ confusion, reverses policy
- Dealer wanted in U.S. for art fraud nabbed in Spain
- Easter morning delivery for space station
- Boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter dies at 76
- Probe could complicate Rick Perry’s prospects
- Ukraine, Russia trade blame for eastern shootout
- Obamas head to church on Easter morning
- In Colorado, a pot holiday tries to go mainstream
- Ukraine PM vows to find ‘bastards’ behind anti-Semitic fliers
Hezbollah says it sent drone over Israel
BEIRUT (AP) — The leader of Hezbollah claimed responsibility Thursday for launching the drone aircraft that entered Israeli airspace earlier this week, a rare and provocative move by the Lebanese militants at a time of soaring regional tensions.
Israeli warplanes shot down the unmanned plane, but the infiltration marked a rare breach of Israel’s airspace. Hezbollah was the leading suspect because of its arsenal of sophisticated Iranian weapons and a history of trying to deploy similar aircraft.
“Today we are uncovering a small part of our capabilities, and we shall keep many more hidden,” Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised address. “It is our natural right to send other reconnaissance flights inside occupied Palestine. … This is not the first time and will not be the last. We can reach anyplace we want” inside Israel, he said.
With a formidable arsenal that rivals that of the Lebanese army, Hezbollah is already under pressure in Lebanon from rivals who accuse it of putting Lebanon at risk of getting sucked into regional turmoil. Confirmation that Hezbollah was behind the drone could put the group under further strain internally as it pursues its longstanding conflict with Israel.
Israel routinely sends F-16s into over Lebanon, breaking the sound barrier over Beirut and other places as a show of strength.
Hezbollah, a powerful Shiite group committed to Israel’s destruction, long has served as an Iranian proxy along Israel’s northern border. The two sides fought a brutal monthlong war in mid-2006. Hundreds of people were killed, and Hezbollah fired several thousand rockets and missiles into Israel before the conflict ended in a stalemate.
Hezbollah has attempted to send unmanned aircraft into Israel on several occasions, dating back to 2004. Sheik Nasrallah has claimed that the group’s pilotless aircraft were capable of carrying explosives and striking deep into Israel.
Since the fighting ended, the sides have been locked in a covert battle against each other.
Touring southern Israel on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised efforts to prevent land infiltrations from Egypt. He mentioned that Israel has been equally successful “in the air, just like we thwarted the Hezbollah attempt last weekend,” his first public statement blaming Hezbollah.
Israel says the drone was not carrying explosives and appeared to be on a reconnaissance mission.
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Justice at last: 'Evil woman' outed for grabbing girl's game ball
- CHARLES: Holder's undermining of the law deserving of contempt
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Jews being told to register in Ukraine: John Kerry
- EDITORIAL: Republicans finally fight back in phony 'war on women'
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.