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Lebanese army says it shot down Israeli drone near border

Lebanon says it targeted drone after it entered its airspace, while Israel says it crashed during 'operational activity'
The Lebanese army said the drone infiltrated the country's airspace over the town of Aita al-Shaab and was shot down
Lebanese army says drone infiltrated country's airspace over town of Aita al-Shaab and was shot down (AFP/File photo)

The Lebanese army on Thursday said it had shot down an Israeli drone that infiltrated the country's airspace, while Israel's military said it crashed inside Lebanon during "operational activity" along the border.

The Lebanese army said in a statement that the drone "penetrated Lebanese airspace over the town of Aita al-Shaab and was shot down by members of one of the army posts".

The drone was 200 metres from the United Nations-demarcated Blue Line inside Lebanese territory, according to the Lebanese army.

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An Israeli army spokesperson said there was "no risk of breach of information", offering no further details.

A similar incident occurred about two weeks ago, when Israeli helicopters fired missiles at a centre belonging to a local environmental group in south Lebanon, according to the Lebanese military at the time.

The military said the strikes on the Green Without Borders centre in the Aitaroun nature reserve sparked a fire.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military said it struck posts belonging to the Lebanese group Hezbollah, claiming that shots had been fired from Lebanon towards its troops.

Lebanon's Supreme Council of Defense made no mention of shots fired from the south towards Israel, but denounced the Israeli assault and said a complaint would be filed at the United Nations.

Thursday's security incident is the latest along the tense Lebanon-Israel border, the scene of a confusing and violent episode more than a month ago when Israel rained shells down on south Lebanon, which its military said was retaliation for an attempt by Hezbollah operatives to enter Israeli-controlled territory.

Hezbollah denied it ever attempted such a raid or even returned fire, claiming the Israeli military had worked itself into such a state of nervousness in the north that it mistakenly began firing on Lebanon.

The attack left Israelis questioning their own military's narrative and prompted former defence minister Naftali Bennett to pile pressure on Benjamin Netanyahu's government.