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2019 Beirut drone crash

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2019 Beirut drone crash
Part of Iran–Israel proxy conflict
Location of Beirut in Lebanon
TypeLoitering munition attack (deemed possible by Debkafile[1][2] and implied by Hezbollah)[3]
Location
Dahieh, Beirut, Lebanon

33°53′13″N 35°30′47″E / 33.886944°N 35.513056°E / 33.886944; 35.513056
Date25 August 2019
Executed by Israel (alleged)[4][5]
OutcomeHezbollah Media Center damaged

Lebanese and Hezbollah officials reported that at 2:30 a.m. local time (23:30 GMT) on 25 August 2019, two drones crashed into the Dahieh district of Beirut, Lebanon. According to Lebanese officials[6][4][7][8] Israeli drones attacked Beirut; one crashed into the roof of the Hezbollah Media Center, about 45 minutes before the second exploded in the air and damaged the building. Hezbollah denied exploding or targeting them.[9] It was the first such incident between Israel and Lebanon since the 2006 Lebanon War.[10][9]

Background

In July 2019 Israel targeted the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) bases in Iraq.[11] Several Iraqi, Iranian and Israeli officials have attributed the attacks to Israel, but Israel initially did not confirm nor deny its role. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted responsibility for the attacks on 20 August 2019, claiming that "Iran is not immune anywhere".[12] Israel confirmed responsibility for the strikes on 22 August 2019, which was later followed by a US confirmation.[13][14] A senior researcher at the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies stated that an upcoming election and indications that the United States may start talks with Iran, could be reasons why Israel had "stepped up the pressure".[15]

Reaction

Debkafile, citing unidentified sources, reported that Israel targeted the media center using what may have been IAI Harpy loitering munition and that the attack was a targeted killing attempt.[1][2] The Israeli military said it does not comment on "foreign reports".[16]

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah labeled the attack as a "suicide mission" and announced that other Israeli drones will be targeted over Lebanon.[17]

Ron Ben-Yishai reported for Ynet that the drones were Iranian-made, apparent by their models.[18]

Amos Harel, writing for Haaretz, stated that the attack was attributed to Israel and damaged an Iranian-supplied planetary mixer used for making "propellants that can improve the engine performance of missiles and increase their accuracy."[19] The Guardian cites sources saying that Israel sent the drones to "disrupt efforts by Hezbollah to fit advanced guidance systems to rudimentary rockets."[20]

Aftermath

Israeli jets made low altitude flights over Sidon, according to the Lebanese National News Agency.[21] Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said he would down Israeli drones over Lebanon skies from now on. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said the drones amounted to an open attack on the country's sovereignty.[3]

According to the Lebanese National News Agency, Israeli aircraft attacked a PFLP-GC base in Qousaya Lebanon the following day.[22][23]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Shalem, Diane (August 25, 2019). "Lebanese forces cordon off S. Beirut area after drone explosion". DEBKAfile.
  2. ^ a b Shalem, Diane (August 26, 2019). "Israel in counter-terror mode: Beirut drone attack was targeted assassination. Strikes on Lebanese Beqaa. Drone hits PMU convoy". DEBKAfile.
  3. ^ a b Hezbollah chief: 'We will down Israeli drones in Lebanon skies'
  4. ^ a b Lebanese PM accuses Israel of ‘open attack’ on sovereignty after 2 drones crash in Beirut
  5. ^ Analysis Israel Broke the Rules of the Game With Hezbollah, and Now the Ball Is in Nasrallah's Court
  6. ^ Prime Minister Saad Hariri
  7. ^ President Michel Aoun
  8. ^ Lebanon president: Israel drone attack a declaration of war
  9. ^ a b aljazeera.com (26 August 2019). "Hariri: Israeli drones in Beirut threaten Lebanon's sovereignty".
  10. ^ "Two Israeli drones fall in Beirut suburbs, one explodes: army,..." August 25, 2019 – via www.reuters.com.
  11. ^ "Drone Attack Hits Shiite Militia Base in Northern Iraq". Voice of America. 19 July 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  12. ^ "Netanyahu hints Israel behind strikes on Iraq, says Iran not immune anywhere". Times of Israel. 20 August 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  13. ^ "Netanyahu Confirms Israel Acting Against Iran in Iraq". Hamodia. 22 August 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  14. ^ "American officials confirm Israel behind strikes in Iraq - Report". The Jerusalem Post. 23 August 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  15. ^ "Israel's shadow war with Iran risks triggering wider conflict, analysts say". NBC News. 29 August 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  16. ^ "Hariri: Israeli drones in Beirut threaten Lebanon's sovereignty". www.aljazeera.com.
  17. ^ "Hezbollah chief: 'We will down Israeli drones in Lebanon skies'". www.aljazeera.com.
  18. ^ "Beirut fallen drones were Iranian not Israeli, images show". Ynetnews. August 25, 2019.
  19. ^ "Beirut Strike Target: Vital Iranian Device for Hezbollah's Mass Missile Production". Haaretz. 28 August 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  20. ^ "Drone attacks in Middle East raise fears of escalating conflict". The Guardian. 28 August 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  21. ^ "Israeli warplanes flying at a low altitude over Lebanon's Sidon: Report". english.alarabiya.net.
  22. ^ "Lebanese PM in talks with UN official after Israeli air strikes". France 24. August 26, 2019.
  23. ^ "Israel attacks Palestinian base in Lebanon: Reports". www.aljazeera.com.