SIDON, Lebanon: More than 10 Israeli soldiers fired warning shots into the air close to Lebanese Army troops Tuesday as they recovered parts of an Israeli drone that crashed in mysterious circumstances, security sources said.
Eleven Israeli soldiers crossed the barbed wire technical fence at Kroum al-Shiraki but did not go past the Blue Line. The soldiers surveyed the area for 15 minutes, during which they scanned the area with a detector. According to security sources, the soldiers found three pieces of an Israeli spy drone that had fallen earlier that day under mysterious circumstances next to Mays al-Jabal.
As they were recovering the drone’s parts, the Israeli soldiers shot in the air to discourage Lebanese Army soldiers stationed by the Blue Line from approaching. The Israeli soldiers then withdrew and Lebanese Army and UNIFIL troops mobilized at Mays al-Jabal.
Earlier Tuesday, a convoy of Israeli soldiers driving a bulldozer and two large Humvees made their way to the Israeli settlement of Metula and began excavations around the technical fence close to the Blue Line.
Israeli troops in military vehicles simultaneously patrolled close to the technical fence, starting at Metula and passing along the Wazzani River before reaching the occupied Shebaa Farms. Israeli warplanes also flew over the Farms and the occupied Golan Heights.
Also Tuesday, four smoke grenades, originating from Israeli artillery emplacements deep in the farms, landed on the western side of Shebaa. An Israeli Apache helicopter also flew over the area.
According to a statement released by the Lebanese Army Tuesday, an Israeli patrol “tried to pull the wreckage of a drone and then shot bullets into the air” at 3:30 p.m. following the crash of an Israeli aircraft close to the Blue Line in the border area of Mays al-Jabal on the Israeli side.
“The Army units deployed in the area took appropriate defense measures to prevent the enemy’s forces from entering Lebanese lands,” the statement added.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 19, 2014, on page 3.