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Daily low-flying Israeli planes over Lebanon, scattering nerves

BEIRUT (AP) – Israeli warplanes flew several low-flying flights over Beirut, while reconnaissance drones buzzed overhead on Sunday, which became a daily occurrence.

Israel regularly violates Lebanese airspace, often to strike at neighboring Syria. On Christmas Eve, Israeli planes flew low late into the night, terrifying Beirut residents who are no strangers to such flights. They were followed by reported Israeli strikes in Syria.

The frequency of low-flying military planes over the capital has increased over the past two weeks, raising concerns as tensions have risen in the region in the last days of President Donald Trump’s administration.

“When the drone leaves, the fighter jets come. When the fighter jets leave, the drones return. They saw us in our PJs, photographed us in our PJs and watched us in our PJs. Well now ̵

1; suggested the Twitter user Areej_AAH.

“Of all the panic I’ve experienced in my life in Beirut, the panic that accompanies Israeli warplanes flying so low in Beirut is very special,” Rudeina Baalbaki tweeted, recalling memories of the 2006 war with Israel. .

Israel rarely comments on these reports.

Many fear the conflict could erupt in the region before Trump leaves office in response to the assassination of Iranian Commander Kasem Soleimani in Iraq last year or to limit the efforts of the incoming administration of Joe Biden to negotiate with Iran.

On Friday, the Lebanese army recorded an Israeli flight that lasted nearly six hours in the southern part of the country.

A Twitter account tracking the movement of aircraft in the Middle East, Intel_Sky, has registered dozens of Israeli planes flying over Lebanon, including fake raids, since the beginning of the year. Intel_Sky called Sunday’s flights “fake raids.”

At one point this summer, the Lebanese army said Israel had violated its airspace nearly 30 times in two days by flying reconnaissance drones and jets into Lebanese territory.

The UN Interim Force in Lebanon claims that Israel enters Lebanese airspace on a daily basis in violation of UN resolutions and the country’s sovereignty.

Between June and October 2020, UNIFIL registered an average of 12.63 airspace violations per day, for a total of 61 hours and 51 minutes in flight time, a significant increase over the previous four months. Drones account for approximately 95% of violations, UNIFIL said.

Israel and Lebanon are technically at war. Hezbollah, a powerful Lebanese militant group backed by Iran, is a sworn enemy of Israel and the two have had a series of confrontations, including a large-scale war in 2006.

In an interview later this year, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Israel’s efforts to limit its group’s ability to acquire precision-guided missiles had failed. He boasted that Hezbollah now has twice as many such missiles as last year.

In recent months, Israel has expressed concern that Hezbollah is trying to set up production facilities to produce precision-guided missiles.

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