Lebanon's Hezbollah leader has claimed responsibilty for a drone that was shot down over Israel last week. He said the Iranian-made craft was shot down near Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor.
In a televised speech on Thursday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said the drone had flown over sensitive sites in Israel. "Possession of such an aerial capacity is a first in the history of any resistance movement in Lebanon and the region," he said.
"It's not the first time (that a drone was sent) and it will not be the last. We can reach all the zones" of Israel, Nasrallah said, referring to a less-sophisticated drone sent by Hezbollah during its 2006 war against Israel.
The drone entered Israeli airspace on Oct. 6 from the Mediterranean coast and flew for about 20 minutes before the Israeli air force shot it down over remote desert terrain.
The Hezbollah chief said that the main achievement of the drone was to fly that far in an area secured by US-Israeli air defense systems.
"We will leave it for the Israelis to sit down and discover the drone's abilities ... We are only revealing part of our capabilities and concealing many others," Nasrallah added.
Nasrallah's announcement came shortly after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hezbollah of launching the previously unidentified drone.
Hezbollah had been the leading suspect because of its arsenal of sophisticated Iranian weapons and a history of trying to deploy similar aircraft.
The rare admission Thursday by Nasrallah raises regional tensions at a sensitive time when two of the group's backers, Syria and Iran, are under pressure.
hc/msh (AP, dpa, Reuters, AFP)