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Lebanon accuses Israel of drone strikes, "declaration of war"

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Lebanon’s President says Israel’s use of drones to bomb a Palestinian base in eastern Lebanon near the Syrian border amounts to a declaration of war.

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The strike came a day after an alleged Israeli drone crashed in a stronghold of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah in southern Beirut while another exploded and crashed nearby.

Hezbollah said its explosive experts found that one drone was laden with highly explosive materials, suggesting the aerial vehicles were designed to carry out attacks.

One drone was initially thought to be a reconnaissance drone.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun told the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Jan Kubis, that the attacks violate a UN Security Council resolution that ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.

“What happened is equal to a declaration of war and gives us the right to defend our sovereignty, independence, and the safety of our land,” Aoun said in comments released by his office.

“We are people who seek peace and not war, and we don’t accept anyone threatening us through any means.”

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said later in the day that the UN took note of Aoun’s statements and reiterated the UN’s appeal to stop violations of the Security Council resolution and implement all its provisions..

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said on Sunday that his group will confront and shoot down any Israeli drones that enter Lebanese airspace from now on, raising the potential for conflict amid heightened regional tensions.

Nasrallah also vowed to retaliate against an Israeli airstrike inside Syria that took place late Saturday, which he said killed two Hezbollah members.

-AAP

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