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Israeli forces say downed 3 Hizbollah drones headed to offshore gas field

By AFP - Jul 02,2022 - Last updated at Jul 02,2022

This image grab from a video released by the Israeli forces spokesperson's unit on Saturday, reportedly shows the interception by the Israeli army of a drone launched by Lebanon's Hizbollah movement that was headed towards an offshore gas field in the Mediterranean (AFP photo/HO/ IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — The Israeli forces said they intercepted three drones launched by Lebanon's Hizbollah movement on Saturday that were headed towards an offshore gas field in the Mediterranean.

"Three hostile drones approaching the airspace in Israel's economic waters have been intercepted," the army said in a statement, adding that the drones were headed towards the Karish gas field, which is partly claimed by Lebanon.

The drones were not armed and did not pose a risk, Israeli military sources said.

One drone was intercepted by a fighter jet and the other two by a warship, the sources said.

Lebanon condemned Israel last month when a vessel operated by London-listed Greek energy firm Energean entered Karish field last month.

Israel claims that the field lies in its waters and is not part of the disputed area subject to ongoing negotiations on the maritime border.

Hizbollah warned Energean against proceeding with its activities.

Lebanon and Israel resumed negotiations on their maritime border in 2020, but the process was stalled by Beirut's claim that the map used by the United Nations in the talks needed modifying.

Lebanon initially demanded 860 square kilometres  of waters it said were in dispute but then asked for an additional 1,430 square kilometres, including part of the Karish field.

Lebanon and Israel remain technically at war and have no diplomatic relations. UN peacekeepers patrol the border.

Israel fought a devastating war with Hizbollah in 2006 and regards the Iran-backed group as one of its principal enemies.

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