Israel shoots down Hezbollah drones

The Wall Street Journal reports that Israel on Saturday shot down three Iranian-linked drones headed for a disputed area of the Mediterranean Sea. 

The drones are said to have been launched by Hezbollah, which is a Lebanon-based militant group that has been linked to Iran, one of Israel’s top enemies.

What’s going on?

Israel and Lebanon are currently in a significant negotiation over maritime borders.

The Daily Wire explains:

The territorial dispute centers on the Karish gas fields, which Israel claims are within its UN-recognized exclusive economic zone, although Lebanon also lays claim to parts of the territory. Israel constructed a new rig in the gas field last month. Lebanon reportedly hopes to exploit the offshore gas reserves in the area to prop up its economy, which is in the midst of one of the greatest economic crises in modern history.

In other words, the two countries are fighting over the right to profit from these gas fields. And, this fight is being mediated by the United States.

The drones

By the looks of things, Hezbollah launched the drones in an attempt to disrupt these negotiations. Reports indicate that the three drones were headed for offshore gas rigs. All three of the drones, though, were shot down by Israeli fighter jets as well as by ship-based missiles.

Hezbollah subsequently put out a message claiming that the purpose of the drones was reconnaissance and that this purpose was accomplished.

“The mission was accomplished and the message was received,” Hezbollah said.

“Don’t test us”

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has responded to the situation by condemning the actions of Hezbollah.

He accused Hezbollah of “preventing the state of Lebanon from reaching an agreement regarding maritime borders, which are critical to the economy and prosperity of the Lebanese nation.”

Yair Lapid, Israel’s caretaker prime minister, was a bit more direct in his criticism.

“I stand before you at this moment and say to everyone seeking our demise, from Gaza to Tehran, from the shores of Lebanon to Syria: Don’t test us,” he said. “Israel knows how to use its strength against every threat, against every enemy.”

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