Hezbollah Shoots Down Israeli Drone With Surface-to-Air Missiles

Latest Developments

Hezbollah targeted an Israeli Elbit Hermes 450 drone with surface-to-air missiles on February 26. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) intercepted one of the missiles with the David’s Sling air defense system, but a second missile struck and downed the Israeli drone. In response, the IDF said it carried out extensive strikes “deep” inside Lebanon. Hezbollah’s conduct marked an escalation by the terrorist group, which has already fired thousands of rockets at Israel since October 8.

Expert Analysis

“Hezbollah continues to escalate attacks against Israel. The targeting of an Israeli drone using surface-to-air missiles shows how Hezbollah has illegally acquired more advanced weapons from Iran. Hezbollah has taken over southern Lebanon, and its thousands of attacks on Israel over the last four months illustrate how the terrorist group holds Lebanon hostage to its terrorist ambitions, which destabilize the Middle East.” — Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

“Since the early stages of the conflict, Hezbollah has attempted to down Israeli military aircraft without much success. The technology required to down these aircraft could not have been possible without the procurement of air defense weapons from foreign actors such as Syria and Iran. Nevertheless, the Israeli military continues to maintain air superiority over the skies of Lebanon, despite some losses.” — Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Israel Retaliates Against Hezbollah Attacks

Hezbollah also launched two barrages of rockets on February 26, setting off sirens across Israeli communities. On February 25, Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visited IDF Northern Command and vowed to continue to retaliate against Hezbollah until the group withdraws from the border, “either via a [diplomatic] agreement, or we will do it by force.” Gallant also said that Israel is “planning to increase the firepower against Hezbollah, which is unable to find replacements for the commanders that we are eliminating.” He continued, “If a temporary pause is reached in Gaza, we will increase the fire in the north separately, and will continue until the full withdrawal of Hezbollah [from the border] and the return of Israeli citizens to their homes.” Israel has evacuated 80,000 citizens from the northern border since October 8 due to Hezbollah’s attacks. They have lived in hotels or other temporary residences for more than four months.

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