Israeli military aircraft carried out several low-flying flights over Beirut as unmanned reconnaissance aircraft flew over Beirut on Sunday in what became a daily occurrence.
Israel regularly violates Lebanese airspace, often to launch strikes in neighboring Syria. On Christmas Eve, Israeli jets flew low late at night, to terrorize Beirut residents who are no strangers to such flights. Then, Israeli strikes were announced in Syria.
Warplanes have been flying at a low altitude over the capital in the past two weeks, leaving residents tense as tensions escalate in the area in the final days of President Donald Trump’s administration.
When the plane leaves, the warplanes come. When the warplanes leave, the drones come back. They saw us in our pajamas, they photographed us in our pajamas and watched us in our pajamas. Now what, ”Twitter user Areej_AAH quipped.
“Among all the scares that I have experienced in life in Beirut, the panic that accompanies the Israeli warplanes flying at this low level in Beirut is a very special case,” Rudaina Baalbaki said on Twitter.
Israel rarely comments on these reports.
Many fear conflict will erupt in the region before Trump leaves office in retaliation for the US killing of Iranian leader Qassem Soleimani in Iraq last year, or to thwart the next administration’s efforts for Joe Biden to negotiate with Iran.
On Friday, the Lebanese army recorded an Israeli flight that lasted nearly six hours in the south of the country.
An account on Twitter that tracks aircraft movement in the Middle East, Intel_Sky, has recorded dozens of Israeli aircraft flying over Lebanon, including mock strikes, since the beginning of the year. Intel_Sky described Sunday’s trips as “fake raids”.
At some point this summer, the Lebanese army said Israel had breached its airspace around 30 times in two days, and launched reconnaissance planes and jets into Lebanon.
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon says that Israel is entering Lebanese airspace on a daily basis in violation of United Nations resolutions and the country’s sovereignty.
Between June and October 2020, UNIFIL recorded an average of 12.63 airspace violations per day, totaling 61 hours and 51 minutes in flight time, a significant increase from the previous four months. UNIFIL said drones accounted for nearly 95% of the violations.
Israel and Lebanon are technically at war. Hezbollah, the powerful Iranian-backed Lebanese armed group, is a bitter enemy of Israel, and the two sides have fought a series of confrontations, including a full-scale war in 2006.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a year-end interview that Israel’s efforts to limit his group’s ability to acquire precision-guided missiles had been unsuccessful. He boasted that Hezbollah now has twice the number of rockets it did last year.
In recent months, Israel has expressed concern that Hezbollah is trying to establish production facilities to manufacture precision-guided missiles.