A Lebanese security official denied on Monday that a drone downed by the Israeli air force off the northern coast of Israel last week had been sent from Lebanon.
The unnamed official told the Lebanese An Nahar newspaper that Israel rushed to the conclusion that Hizbullah was behind the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that the Israeli military was intercepted off the coast of Haifa last Thursday.
He claimed that UNIFIL's naval contingent is heavily deployed at sea and in Lebanon's territorial waters and could have seen any movement if the drone was sent from Lebanon.
The official suggested the UAV could have been sent by an Israeli amateur from his country's coast or Hamas could have been behind it.
Hizbullah was fingered by Israel as being behind the incident, but the terror group denied “sending any unmanned drone towards occupied Palestine.”
In the wake of the UAV incident, the Lebanese army has increased its presence along the Lebanon-Israel border.
The official Lebanese National News Agency reported on Friday that the IDF increased its presence along the border as well, and IAF aircraft were seen flying over Lebanese territory.
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon promised that Israel would retaliate for the UAV flight into Israeli airspace.
"There will be an Israeli reaction," said Danon on Army Radio. "We have seen our ability to deter Hizbullah," he added.
"We still see Hizbullah's leaders hiding in the shelters and not daring to travel around Lebanon," he noted.
Danon said that while Israel would continue to deter Hizbullah, there will probably be similar attempts to enter Israeli airspace on both the northern and southern borders.
Hizbullah sent a UAV into Israeli territory in October. The IAF shot it down when it was well within Israeli territory, over Judea.