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IDF working to counter Hizbullah's UAV capability, says chief

A still from the UAV reconnaissance video highlights the covered submarine dock at Haifa naval base. (Al-Manar)

Israeli Chief of the General Staff Lieutenant General Herzl Halevi acknowledged on 19 June that the Lebanese group Hizbullah had successfully penetrated the air defences protecting the northern port city of Haifa.

“Yesterday, Hizbullah released a video showing a capability that we are familiar with, and we are preparing and building solutions to deal with such capabilities and other capabilities,” he said in a video the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) released to show Lt Gen Halevi visiting an Iron Dome battery. “We of course possess infinitely more powerful capabilities, which I think the enemy knows only a little about,” he added.

Hizbullah released a 9:27 minute video on 18 June that it said was filmed by an Al-Hudud unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that carried out a reconnaissance flight over Haifa and returned to Lebanon. The footage included aerial imagery of the naval base, the airport where the air force's technical college is located, and the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems complex north of Haifa. It was annotated to highlight military facilities and assets, giving the impression Hizbullah has extensive intelligence about the IDF.

The IDF declined to officially comment on how a UAV was able to fly over Haifa. However, Ynet cited the Israeli Air Force (IAF) as saying it detected the aircraft and determined that it was not an offensive system, so did not risk inflicting damage on the ground by intercepting it.

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