The Lebanese army fired at an Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs) at the Israeli-Lebanese border last night, forcing the drone to leave Lebanon’s airspace, the Daily StarLebanon reported.

The drone was sighted flying over the southern Lebanese town of Mais Al-Jabal and was “[forced to] return to Occupied Palestine”, said a statement from the Lebanese army.

According to the National News Agency (NNA), the drone was not hit by Lebanese gunfire but was made to return to the Upper Galilee area.

Adding that “the aircraft immediately returned to the occupied Palestinian territories amid a security deployment by the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL forces in the aforementioned area.”

These are the first shots fired between the two countries since similar incidents took place in August and October last year, as tensions between Israel and Lebanese militia Hezbollah worsened.

In August, two Israeli drones attacked Beirut’s southern suburbs, a Hezbollah stronghold. One crashed, while the other exploded, damaging a Hezbollah media centre in the area.

Hezbollah retaliated a week later by firing missiles at an Israeli military vehicle, resulting in a brief firefight between the two sides.

In October, a Hezbollah affiliated news agency, Al-Manar, said a Lebanese man had shot down an Israeli drone with a hunting rifle near the border town of Kfar Kila.

The Israeli military said the drone flight was part of “routine operations to secure the border” but added that the drone was not shot and rather “fell” from the air.

Israel launched air strikes on several targets in Damascus on 6 February, some of which were reportedly launched from southern Lebanon.

A month-long conflict took place between Israel and Lebanese militia Hezbollah in 2006, killing more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and more than 160 Israeli soldiers.

Skirmishes have taken place along the border since then.

Lebanon and Israel are still technically at war, with Lebanese officials claiming that the self-declared Jewish occupying state still controls parts of southern Lebanon.

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