Peres: Hizbullah More of a Threat to Lebanon than to Israelإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Israeli President Shimon Peres on Thursday said Hizbullah was “more of a threat to Lebanon than to Israel,” in the wake of Hizbullah's sending of a reconnaissance drone over the Jewish state.
“This organization is more of a threat to Lebanon than to Israel, because Israel is capable of defending itself,” Israel's radio quoted the Israeli president as saying.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday warned that the transfer of Syria's chemical weapons to Hizbullah or other groups would force Israel to consider military action.
Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah last week acknowledged that his group had sent a sophisticated unmanned drone over Israel, saying the device was built by the Jewish state's arch-foe Iran.
Nasrallah's acknowledgment of the drone which Israel shot down on October 6 came shortly after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed at Hizbullah and vowed to defend his country against further "threats."
"A sophisticated reconnaissance aircraft was sent from Lebanese territory ... and traveled hundreds of kilometers (miles) over the sea before crossing enemy lines and into occupied Palestine," Nasrallah said in a televised address.
"It overflew sensitive and important installations for dozens of kilometers until the enemy spotted it near (the nuclear site) Dimona," Nasrallah added. He did not identify the installations.
“Israel is lying to its people by claiming that it intercepted the drone over the sea,” Nasrallah noted.
Nasrallah insisted that "possession of such an aerial capacity is a first in the history of any resistance movement in Lebanon and the region."
"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, said Nasrallah, referring to a less sophisticated drone sent by Hizbullah during its 2006 war against Israel.
He said the latest drone was "Iranian built and assembled in Lebanon."
“I must praise the jihadist brothers who have dedicated their talents to defend their people and developed all these defense capabilities,” Nasrallah added.
“We will leave it to the Israelis to evaluate the intelligence and operational capabilities of the drone. This capability is only part of the surprises of any future war,” he went on to say.
“I must remind of the size of Israel's violations of Lebanon's airspace since (U.N. Security Council) Resolution 1701 came into force until yesterday: 20,468 violations, amid the impotence of the state and the silence of the international community and some Lebanese who are lecturing about sovereignty,” Nasrallah added.
The Israeli premier earlier accused Hizbullah of launching the previously unidentified drone and vowed to protect Israeli borders against further intrusions.
"We are acting with determination to protect our borders... as we prevented last weekend an attempt by Hizbullah," Netanyahu's office quoted him as saying. "We shall continue to act aggressively against all threats."
Israeli air force jets shot down the unarmed drone over southern Israel's Negev desert after it entered the country's airspace from the Mediterranean Sea.