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Israel shoots down Hezbollah's unmanned plane over the Mediterranean Sea

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The Associated Press

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Josef Federman

Jerusalem (AP) — Israeli forces announced on Saturday that they had shot down three unmanned aircraft launched by Lebanese militant group Hezbora. did. The Israeli gas platform was recently installed in the Mediterranean.

The launch of the aircraft was like Hezbora's attempt to influence US-mediated negotiations between Israel and Lebanon in natural gas-rich waters.

In a statement, the Israelites stated that the aircraft was discovered early and did not pose an "imminent threat." Nevertheless, the incident drew a harsh warning from Israeli caretaker Prime Minister Yale Rapid.

"I stand in front of you at this point and tell everyone from Gaza to Teheran, from the coast of Lebanon to Syria, who seek our demise. Don't test, "Rapid said. In his first speech to the public since he took office on Friday. "Israel knows how to use its strength against all threats and all enemies."

Israel installed a gas rig in Kalishfield earlier this month. Israel says it is part of an internationally recognized economic sphere. Lebanon claimed it was in a sea of ​​controversy.

Hezbollah issued a short statement confirming that he had launched three unarmed drones on a reconnaissance mission to address the maritime dispute over Kalishfield. "The mission was accomplished and the message was received," he said.

Israel and Hezbora are bitter enemies who fought a month-long war in the summer of 2006. Israel sees the Iran-backed Lebanon group as the most serious and imminent threat, with about 150,000 rockets and missiles aimed at Israel.

Last week, the United States said its intermediary, Amos Hochstein, had a conversation with the Lebanese and Israeli sides. "The exchange is productive and has advanced the goal of narrowing the gap between the two. The United States will continue to engage with parties in the coming days and weeks," his office said in a statement last week.

The two countries that have officially been at war since the founding of Israel in 1948 both claim about 860 square kilometers (330 square miles) of the Mediterranean. Lebanon is tackling the worst economic crisis in modern history and wants to take advantage of its offshore gas reserves.

On Saturday, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati received "encouragement information" from reporters about the border dispute, but Bayroot "waited for an official written response to Lebanon's proposal. I refused to comment. "

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Bassem Muroe's related press writer Fares Akram in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, and Bayroot contributed to this report.