Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Friday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
Nasrallah admits: Iranian-made "Ayyoub” [drone] over Israel
Hariri and Geagea agree on electoral map
Official preparations scandal: only 3,000 expats registered in embassies
No assassination attempt in Sidon, Aoun refuses to comment pending [outcome] of judicial [review]
Six days after Israel shot down a pilotless drone in the Hebron area south of the occupied West Bank, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah Thursday evening raised the tone of his regional challenge which is linked to the conflict with Israel, declaring for the first time the party’s responsibility for this operation.
This development took on regional and internal dimensions of extreme importance, especially as Nasrallah – by taking credit for the operation – put the “balance of terror” equation between Hezbollah and Israel at a new crossroads, linked to the party’s aerial reconnaissance capabilities against daily Israeli air violations of the Lebanese airspace.
The other significant factor that has emerged in this development is that Nasrallah deliberately revealed that the plane was Iranian-made “and was assembled in Lebanon,” an indication that Iran has penetrated the regional picture that is likely to trigger repercussions.
While waiting for what the potential outcome after Hezbollah claimed responsibility for this operation, Nasrallah described the drone flight over Israel as a “unique and very important operation in the history of the resistance in Lebanon and the region.”
“We don’t have fighters in Syria and we are with solving the crisis through dialogue,”
Nasrallah announces: It is our plane ... in response to Israeli aerial violations
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah challenged the Jewish state and claimed on behalf of the resistance the reconnaissance plane that penetrated Israeli air defenses and flew over occupied Palestine at a depth of 55 kilometers and close to Israel’s “Dimona” reactor. The 300-kilometer journey which lasted about three hours was enough to draw a new equation in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Experts were unanimous that the “Ayyoub” plane will make the Israeli military command – along with NATO on land, sea and air – reconsider a lot of equations that Israel has long talked about after the July 2006 war.
If the Israelis have failed in their ground warfare against Lebanon six years ago and if Hezbollah’s strike that targeted an Israeli Saar 5 navy gunship off the coast of Lebanon has dealt a blow to Israel, then the Iranian-made, Lebanese-assembled and operated drone would necessitate reevaluation by Israel’s Air Force and all its defensive systems, similar to what happened to the old generation and the new generation of the [Israeli tank] "Merkava" in the wake of the July 2006.
FSA reveals details of what happened in Qusair: 60 Hezbollah members killed, 13 taken prisoner
Nasrallah eliminates the state ... in all directions
A hijacked Lebanon was only a small number in the Syrian-Iranian calculations that were clearly manifested in the speech of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah Thursday evening.
Meanwhile, the Free Syrian Army revealed details of what happened in the Syrian town of Qusair. It said about 60 Hezbollah members were killed and 13 taken prisoner.
Nasrallah did not deny his party’s involvement in fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime and was not convincing in trying to circumvent the reality which confirms his involvement.
Neither was he convincing in trying to justify the death of “Abu Abbas” and other Hezbollah members [who were allegedly killed while fighting in Syria].
Remarkable was Nasrallah’s avowal – declaring once again a unilateral decision on behalf of Lebanon and the Lebanese – that he is dragging Lebanon into major dilemmas away from any defense strategy, after boasting that he had sent an Iranian-made reconnaissance plane which he said had "reached the vicinity of the Dimona nuclear reactor."
Shiites welcome Siniora’s initiative ... sub-committee to mull new election law
Nasrallah takes credit for “Ayyoub” over Israel ... Netanyahu threatens
Confessions about party members taking part in fight in Syria ... without ruling out intervention "if need be?!”
In what appeared to be clarifications regarding concerns that hit Lebanon in recent days and after the Shiites welcomed an initiative launched by former Prime Minister and head of the Future bloc Fouad Siniora, Sayyed Nasrallah adopted a series of stances on issues linked to what is going on between Hezbollah and the Free Syrian Army all the way to the Lebanese hostages held in Syria.
Nasrallah did not hide the fact that Hezbollah members are engaged in clashes with the Free Syrian Army as part of what he described as self-defense and perhaps this was intended to be “jihadist duty.”
He said the drone flight over Israel was a “Hezbollah reaction to the repeated Israeli attacks on Lebanese territory.
In the same context, MP Michel Aoun adopted what Nasrallah said, denying that Lebanese were entering the Syrian border. He also defended Hezbollah’s drone flight over Israel, saying “logic has it that Israel must stop its violations of Lebanese airspace.”
Aoun said the drone was a “Hezbollah reaction to Israel’s repeated attacks on Lebanese territory.”