Interception ... footage from the an Israeli Defence Forces video shows what it says was the destruction of the drone sent by Hezbollah. Photo: Reuters
Lebanon's Hezbollah says it launched the drone that was shot down over Israeli territory last week.
Hassan Nasrallah, the chief of the militant Shiite group, speaking on the party's al-Manar television station, said the drone was Iranian-made and assembled by Hezbollah. He said it passed over "sensitive and important" locations – apparently a reference to Israel's Dimona nuclear plant – describing it as an "achievement" for the aircraft to fly for so long before it was downed.
"We are revealing here just a part of our capabilities and we're hiding lots of other parts," Mr Nasrallah said. "We have the full right to launch as many reconnaissance flights as we like."
Warning ... Hassan Nasrallah claims the drone incursion on Hezbollah's al-Manar TV.
Israel's forces shot down the unmanned aircraft after it entered Israeli airspace from the Mediterranean. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that the aerial vehicle was launched by Hezbollah, after Israel Radio on October 7 cited unidentified army officials as saying that the Shiite group was responsible.
Mr Nasrallah "wants to provoke Israel and play on Arab feelings that he is still holding the flag of the Arab resistance against Israel", as well as distract attention from the uprising against his ally Bashar al-Assad in Syria, said Sami Nader, professor of international relations at St Joseph University in Beirut.
"We will act with determination to defend our borders by sea, as we do on land with this fence that stops terrorists and infiltrators, and in the air, as we did when we frustrated the attempt by Hezbollah last weekend," Mr Netanyahu said, while touring the barrier under construction at the border between Israel and Egypt.
His spokesman, Mark Regev, said the prime minister was referring to the downed drone and declined to give further details.
Mr Nasrallah also said Hezbollah had not sent fighters to help combat the uprising in Syria, though he didn't rule out doing so. Syrian opposition groups have said Hezbollah members are fighting alongside Assad's army.
"The regime in Syria doesn't need us or anyone else to fight alongside it," he said.