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Israel says it shot down drone from Lebanon

April 25, 2013|By Edmund Sanders | This post has been updated. See the note below for details.

JERUSALEM -- Israel said Thursday that it had shot down an unmanned aircraft that entered Israeli airspace off the northern coast near Haifa, the second such incident in seven months.

Military officials said they suspect the drone originated in Lebanon and was probably sent by the militant group Hezbollah. A search for the downed aircraft was underway.

[Updated at 11:45 a.m. on April 25: Hezbollah later issued a brief statement on its television station Al Manar denying any role in the flight.]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose helicopter happened to be flying in northern Israel at the time of the incident and was temporarily grounded as a precaution, said he viewed the attempted border breach with "utmost gravity."

Israel and Lebanon both use drones to spy on each other.

In October, Israel said it shot down a drone believed to have been sent by Hezbollah over the Negev Desert. Israeli jets routinely fly over southern Lebanon to conduct drills and surveillance, according to Lebanese media.

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