Israel Shoots Down 3 Hizbullah Drones Heading for Gas Field
The Israeli military said Saturday it shot down three Hizbullah drones flying toward its Karish gas field, in the Mediterranean Sea. A gas production vessel recently arrived in Israel to start extraction operations in the offshore field, part of which is claimed by Lebanon. Israel says Karish is entirely in its UN-recognized exclusive economic zone. The two Eastern Mediterranean countries have been in UN-sponsored negotiations over the past two years to determine their maritime border. One of the drones was downed by an Israeli Air Force F-16 fighter jet; the other two were intercepted by Barak 8 missiles launched from the Israeli Navy’s Saar 5-class corvette INS Eilat, the military said in a statement. The Iran-backed Lebanese Shiite organization Hizbullah has not publically responded to the Israeli claims. “Israel is prepared to defend its infrastructure against any threat,” Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz tweeted Saturday evening. “Hizbullah undermines the ability of the Lebanese government to reach an agreement on the maritime border … despite Israel’s intentions to move forward in negotiations to resolve the issue,” he said.