Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militant group based in Lebanon, is planning a “calculated strike” against Israel in response to the crash of two Israeli drones in Beirut on 25 August, sources told Reuters on Tuesday.
The strike would be a retaliatory measure for Israeli raids in Syria and Lebanon, but would be arranged “in a way which wouldn’t lead to a war that neither Hezbollah nor Israel wants”, according to sources cited by Reuters.
“The direction now is for a calculated strike, but how matters develop, that’s another thing,” a source added.
Two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) crashed near the Hezbollah headquarters in the suburbs of Beirut on 25 August, leading to significant damage to the press building and injuring several people, an accident which Lebanon called an Israeli “attack” on the country’s sovereignty. It is not the first time Beirut has condemned Israel for conducting raids in Lebanese airspace and violating Lebanon’s sovereignty.
On Sunday 25 August, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel of an imminent response to the UAVs crash.
“I say to the Israeli army along the border, from tonight be ready and wait for us,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech. “Do not rest, do not be reassured, and do not bet for a single moment that Hezbollah will allow […] aggression of this kind.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded in kind to Nasrallah and leaders of Iran and Lebanon, remarking that they should "be careful of what they say and watch their actions".
"I heard what Nasrallah said. I suggest to Nasrallah to calm down. He knows well that Israel knows how to defend itself and to pay back its enemies", said Netanyahu .
Israeli authorities earlier confirmed the Syrian air strikes, arguing that they were aimed at “Iranian Quds Force operatives and Shiite militia targets”, but did not comment on other strikes. Iranian authorities denied that their forces suffered from the strikes.