UPDATES WITH MICHEL AOUN'S COMMENT
By Wassim Seifeddine and Edward Haddad
BEIRUT (AA) – Lebanese group Hezbollah has denied shooting down two Israeli drones, which crashed in the southern suburb of capital Beirut earlier Sunday.
"The first drone fell down, while the other exploded, causing severe damage to Hezbollah's media office in the southern suburb," Hezbollah spokesman Mohamed Afifi told the official Lebanese news agency.
He said the drone that exploded was a "booby-trapped".
"The first drone that fell down is now in the hands of Hezbollah, which is analyzing the background of its operation and the tasks it tried to carry out," he said.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah will respond to these events in a speech later Sunday, according to the spokesman.
The Lebanese army, for its part, confirmed that one Israeli drone fell and the another exploded in Beirut's southern suburb.
"The army arrived immediately and cordoned off the area where the two drones fell,” a military statement said.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, meanwhile, described the Israeli drone crash as aggression on Lebanon's sovereignty.
In a statement, Hariri said the new development constituted "a threat to regional stability and an attempt to push the situation towards further tension".
President Michel Aoun also described the incident as a "flagrant aggression", saying Beirut will take "appropriate measures" in response.
In a statement, Aoun said the incident was an "additional indication about Israel’s hostile intentions and its attacks on stability and peace in Lebanon and the region".
"Lebanon, which strongly condemns this aggression, will take the appropriate measures after consulting with the relevant authorities,” he said.
There was no comment from Israel on the incident, which came hours after Israel announced it carried out airstrikes in Syria against what it said positions of an Iran-aligned group in the war-torn country.
In 2006, Israel launched war against Hezbollah during which at least 1,200 people, mostly Lebanese civilians, were killed.