Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Saturday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
Sleiman says [need] to benefit from resistance's capabilities
Connelly inquires about "Ayyoub" drone at the airport
In the wake of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah's announcement that his party was behind the drone [that was shot down by Israel] – an issue that remains under scrutiny in Israel and its media – and not to mention U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly's visit to the airport where she asked questions and sought clarifications from officials with regards to the "Ayyoub drone," President Michel Sleiman rushed to remark on the resistance's step.
His stance was met with satisfaction by the resistance and the political party while the March 14 coalition voiced opposition to the operation.
Sleiman said that the operation of sending a drone over Israeli territory shows the need to approve a national defense strategy that benefits from the capabilities of the resistance to defend Lebanon and also to apply a mechanism that organizes decision-making with regard to the use of such capabilities that suits the Army's plans and defensive needs as well as national interests under all circumstances.
Sleiman responds to Nasrallah
Government disassociated itself
The government disassociated itself from the speech of its mentor, Hezbollah's Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, which was followed by reactions that condemned the drone incident given that it takes Lebanon into the unknown and in the Syrian-Iranian [sphere] particularly given that the party said it was behind the Iranian-made drone that flew over Israel.
It also disassociated itself from his confessions that the party was involved in fighting against the Syrian people alongside the regime of Bashar Assad.
It seems that President Michel Sleiman did not disassociate himself [from Nasrallah’s speech] but rushed into making remarks amid various evaluations that unanimously considered Nasrallah's remarks as a blow to all defense strategies.
Baabda Palace sources told Al-Mustaqbal that Sleiman's stance stems from two issues. The first is the failure of the international community to force Israel to implement U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 and put an end to Israel’s violations of Lebanon’s airspace. The second is that Sleiman appreciates the role of the national resistance and its defensive capabilities as well as its sacrifices but in return he believes that it is necessary to benefit from such capabilities in the framework of a defense strategy that enjoys national consensus.
Israel unaware of "Ayyoub" drone's aerial course and March 14 attacks it
The "Ayyoub" drone, details of which Hezbollah's Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah revealed, kept the political scene preoccupied and everyone’s attention was directed at this achievement by the resistance.
Available information about the drone indicates that Israeli occupation forces were not able to discover the path of the drone even after they shot it down and that the drone flew for over 300 kilometers and was in Israeli airspace for around three hours. The occupation forces were unaware of the nature of the drone's reconnaissance mission until after it was downed and neither the Israeli, the American or Mediterranean monitoring systems were able to identify the area where the plane first entered Palestinian airspace.
This simply means that if the drone had a specific mission, it would have accomplished it, knowing that it flew over military sites that are highly sensitive as well as economic institutions that are deemed very important.
Commenting on criticism against the resistance for the operation, Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem said that the Future Movement in Lebanon had lost its independence after it began implementing the arrogant project against Lebanon and the region.
During his meeting with Syria's Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel-Karim Ali, Qassem reiterated that his party was opposed to involving Lebanon in the Syrian crisis.