IDF says it downed two Hezbollah drones in recent weeks

Hezbollah drone at the Mleeta Museum. Credit: Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

On Apr. 27, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it shot down a Hezbollah drone that entered Israeli territory. It was the second drone claimed to be downed by the IDF in recent weeks.

“Our troops downed a Hezbollah drone that crossed from Lebanon into Israel today. In addition, we located another Hezbollah drone that we downed a few weeks ago,” the IDF tweeted.

A Middle East military official with knowledge of the incidents confirmed to FDD’s Long War Journal that both Hezbollah drones downed by the IDF were unarmed.

The confirmation suggests the drones were likely launched in an attempt to observe activity in Israeli territory or to probe IDF air defenses in northern Israel.

Hezbollah made multiple attempts to breach Israeli airspace using drones in recent months. In January, a Hezbollah drone was monitored by the IDF and subsequently shot down when it entered Israeli airspace.

Although the IDF has seemingly been able to defend its northern airspace, Hezbollah has achieved some limited success. In Dec. 2020, Hezbollah-affiliated al-Manar published a video of several IDF military bases that were reportedly taken by a drone launched by Hezbollah. FDD’s Long War Journal could not confirm if the drone had entered Israeli airspace.

Additionally, Hezbollah has been able to shoot down some IDF drones that entered Lebanese airspace. In February, Hezbollah’s Central War Media outlet published a video of an IDF drone brought down in the Marjeyoun district of southern Lebanon.

In a more serious incident, Hezbollah fired anti-aircraft missiles at an IDF Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) on Feb. 3. According to an IDF statement, the missiles missed the UAV and it was able to continue on its mission.

Israel routinely uses Lebanese airspace to monitor Hezbollah activity and launch airstrikes against Iranian weapon shipments in Syria. This policy is likely to continue as it has shown to be successful at keeping Israeli jet fighters relatively safe from Syrian air defense. Furthermore, Hezbollah will likely continue its attempts to penetrate Israeli airspace as its own drone program continues to develop.

Joe Truzman is an editor and senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

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