- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
Israeli military shoots down drone likely launched by Hezbollah
Analysts were largely agreed that the purpose of the unmanned aircraft’s flight was to distract attention from the Lebanese terrorist group’s involvement in Syria’s civil war by seeming to challenge the Jewish state.
“Hezbollah has battalions fighting in Lebanon for [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, and they’re being criticized for it throughout the Arab world, particularly in Lebanon itself,” said Ehud Ya’ari, Arab affairs commentator for Israel’s Channel 2 television.
Some commentators suggested that the drone was heading farther south toward Israel’s offshore gas rigs.
Mr. Ya’ari challenged that idea by noting that Lebanon is believed to have large offshore gas deposits and that the public there would be incensed at Hezbollah if it endangered a source of future wealth by attacking Israeli rigs.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was flying north in a helicopter for a meeting when a sighting of the drone was reported, according to Israeli officials. His pilot landed the helicopter until the drone was downed.
The incident comes six months after a Hezbollah drone entered Israeli airspace by flying in over the Gaza Strip. That drone was shot down after penetrating more than 30 miles inland in the direction of Israel’s nuclear reactor at Dimona.
There was criticism then of the air force’s failure to react more swiftly. In the wake of that incident, a new radar deployment was implemented. There also had been two shallow incursions by small drones over Israel’s northern border during the 2006 war with Hezbollah, but they too were shot down.
An Israeli military spokesman said that radar had picked up the drone while it was over Lebanon and tracked it as it flew out over the Mediterranean Sea parallel to Israel’s coast. Warplanes and armed helicopters were dispatched. After officials determined that the drone did not belong to a friendly power, the order was given to bring it down, the spokesman said.
The drone was flying at about 6,000 feet, and was downed near the northern city of Haifa.
Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, who claimed responsibility for the October drone, issued no statement Thursday.
Israeli Chief of Staff Gen. Benny Gantz said in a speech last month that Hezbollah has a significant number of unmanned drones “which we may encounter in the future.”
Meanwhile, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported that Israeli warplanes flew over the Christian town of Jezzine and the highlands of the Iqlim al-Tuffah province, a Hezbollah stronghold in southern Lebanon, Thursday morning, The Associated Press reported.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Inside China: Ukraine gets nuke umbrella
- House votes for bargain to end budget drama
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- MALCOLM/REIMER: Over-criminalization undermines respect for legal system
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow