Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said Saturday that “Hezbollah’s sending of the drone over Israel’s airspace sheds a light on the need for adopting a defense strategy that organizes the means to benefit from the Resistance’s capacities in defending Lebanon, and for adopting a mechanism allowing the use of this capacity in conformity with nothing but the plans and defense needs of the Lebanese Armed Forces and national interest under all circumstances.”
President Suleiman noted that “Lebanon is always complaining to the Security Council” about Israel’s daily violations of Lebanese sovereignty and airspace.”
Sources close to the President told An-Nahar that his stance on sending the drone over Israeli territory highlights the need for adopting a national defense strategy.
According to the sources, this issue will be addressed during the forthcoming national dialogue session on November 12.
The Hezbollah drone, nicknamed Ayoub, which infiltrated the Negev last week beamed back live images of secret Israeli military bases, the Sunday Times reported on Sunday.
According to the report, the drone was airborne for 3 hours before being intercepted by an F-16 Israeli jet. It is believed to have transmitted pictures of preparations for Israel's joint military exercise with the US, as well as ballistic missile sites, airfields and, perhaps, the nuclear reactor in Dimona, the Sunday Times reported.
The report also stated the interception of the drone was “botched” when the first missile fired by the Israeli jet missed. The aircraft had traveled 200 miles, the program claimed.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah took credit on Thursday sending the drone aircraft into Israel on Saturday 06 September, saying in a televised speech on the Al- Manar station that it was Iranian-made and that it was shot down near the Dimona reactor.
"The drone flew over sensitive installations inside southern Palestine,” he said.
Nasrallah claimed the Ayoub drone was designed and manufactured in Iran and assembled in Lebanon, denying reports that the drone was a Russian design.
The Hezbollah leader said the drone was sent as a response to what he referred to as Israel's violations of Lebanese airspace since 2006.
“This flight was not our first will not be our last, and we give assurances we can reach any point we want. We have the right to dispatch recon planes over occupied Palestine at any time,” Nasrallah said.
Earlier that day, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Israel would “act with determination to defend its borders at sea, on air and land” just as it had “thwarted Hezbollah’s attempt over the weekend,” to send an unmanned aircraft into Israeli airspace.
Source: An-Nahar; Sunday Times; The Jerusalem Post