Israel says sirens sounded in false alarm, then claims downing drone

The Israeli military has issued contradictory statements about rocket warning sirens which were sounded in northern Israel near the Lebanese border on Friday.

The military initially said the sirens were sounded following what turned out to be a false report that a drone had crossed into Israel.

The alarm was heard in the communities of Avivim, Meron, Dovev, Hurfeish, Sassa, Netua, Fasuta and Peki’in, Tzivon, Tzuriel and Alkush.

The Israeli military later claimed it had shot down a drone overnight Thursday into Friday that came from Lebanon.

Israeli troops, it said, “identified a drone which infiltrated into Israeli airspace in the Mount Hermon area” along the Lebanese border.

According to the military, the troops were conducting searches in the area, but there was no indication they had found any traces of the allegedly downed drone.

The incident seems to be similar to what happened last week, when Israel claimed to have thwarted an infiltration by Hezbollah, which the resistance movement rejected.

Hezbollah said the claims were “all aimed at fabricating spurious and fictitious victories” to uphold the morale of Israeli troops.

Israel has moved specialized military units to the northern border to reinforce their increasingly tense outposts along the Lebanese and Syrian borders.

The deployment came in anticipation of Hezbollah’s reprisal after an Israeli airstrike killed the movement’s fighter, identified as Ali Kamel Mohsen, on the edge of Damascus on July 20.

Hezbollah has pledged to avenge the killing, but its refusal to say when the strike would be coming has created a mood of heightened apprehension and spurious reaction among Israeli troops.

They shelled the Lebanese village of Habaria last Monday to stop an alleged Hezbollah offensive, but the Lebanese movement said the firing came from only one source, calling it the result of tension and confusion among Israeli forces.

“Hezbollah affirms that there has been no clash or shooting on its part in the events of the day until now. Rather, it was only one party, which was the fearful, anxious and tense enemy,” the statement said.

“All the enemy media claims about thwarting an infiltration operation from Lebanese territory into Occupied Palestine … that took place in the vicinity of the occupied Shebaa Farms is absolutely not true, but rather an attempt to invent false victories,” the statement added.

A leading US news website said this week the recent developments have “shed light on Israel’s impossible situation” along the Lebanese border.

According to Business Insider, Hezbollah has established a high level of deterrence in southern Lebanon where as many as “150,000 rockets and missiles” are pointed at Israel.

Hezbollah has “laid a very dangerous trap for us in the north and I am not clear on how there can be a military solution to this crisis that would come at an acceptable cost,” said a former senior Israeli official who asked not to be named.

The movement can pour dozens if not hundreds of rockets into Israel throughout the northern third of the occupied territories “almost unimpeded”, the website said, adding larger, more advanced, systems are capable of hitting the entire territory.


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