Defense Minister Elias Bou Saad exhibited two drones that Israel reportedly sent last month into Beirut’s southern suburbs. In a press conference on Thursday, he revealed that the drones had “aggressive” purposes and were “loaded with explosives.”
“For the first time we see drones loaded with explosives fly over Beirut’s airport and threaten the security of civil aviation,” he remarked.
The minister displayed a pair of drones -- one intact and the remains of the other -- and used slides to give a detailed account of the alleged Israeli operation.
“The enemy drone violation of Beirut’s suburbs is the most serious since the July war of 2006; it proves that the Israelis have adopted a change of rules of engagement with Lebanon,” Bou Saad affirmed.
He continued: “There have been 480 Israeli violations of [UN Security Council] Resolution 1701 within the last two months, the most serious of which has been the explosive-loaded drones that passed over Beirut airport and endangered air traffic, and then headed to the city’s southern suburbs.”
He also revealed that several enemy planes were in the Lebanese airspace to control the path of the two drones.
One of the drones was carrying 4.5 plastic explosives and the second had eight engines, the minister told the reporters at the news conference.
“The drone, which fell in the suburbs, is a sophisticated military one which aimed to attack the city of Beirut. It was launched from Habonim Airfield in Israel and could be controlled via UAV,” Bou Saab said, stressing that the aim of the drone was to attack, not just tape footage or take photos.
He stressed that Lebanon was in “a self-defense mode”, underlining the country’s legitimate right to defend its sovereignty.