Hezbollah Tries To Down Israeli Fighter Jets With Anti-Aircraft Missiles In First

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Jun 11, 2024 - 10:00 PM

There's been another alarming "first" in the ongoing Israel-Hezbollah conflict which has been raging since Oct.7 in parallel with the Gaza war involving Hamas. Israeli media has revealed that a cell of Hezbollah operatives attempted to down an Israeli fighter jet operating over the region. 

On Sunday the Israeli jet was flying over southern Lebanon when the group launched anti-aircraft missiles at it. The jet escaped unscathed but the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed the incident as a significant development for which it immediately retaliated.

Illustrative: An Israel Air Force F-16 fighter jet fires off flares. IAF/Flickr

Times of Israel writes, citing an IDF statement, that "it appeared to be the first use of anti-aircraft missiles in Lebanon against Israeli jets since war broke out eight months ago, and came after several weeks that have seen Hezbollah slowly ratchet up the scale, intensity and reach of hostilities."

The IDF indicated that soon on the heels of the anti-aircraft missile attack, a military drone "struck and killed the cell" located not far from the coastal city of Tyre.

While this appears the first attempt by Hezbollah to take out a piloted warplane, the Lebanese paramilitary group backed by Iran has continued having some success against advanced Israeli drones. Long War Journal observes that:

Hezbollah is also increasing its use of surface-to-air missiles. On June 10, the group downed an Israeli Hermes 900 drone. This is at least the third Hermes 900 that has been shot down. Another Hermes 900 was downed on June 1. A Hermes 450 was shot down in April and another in February. Hezbollah appears to be having increased success against large- and medium-sized Israeli drones. 

Many of these Hermes drone downings having been captured on video, and subsequently celebrated by Hezbollah and its supporters...

Given Hezbollah is a non-state actor and a paramilitary group, all of this demonstrates the relative sophistication of its weaponry and operations.

Regional observers have widely pointed out it has doubled its use of drones and anti-tank missiles in the last weeks, and should an Israeli Air Force plane be shot out of the sky, it would portend major escalation at a moment Tel Aviv is already mulling whether to launch an invasion of south Lebanon to root out Hezbollah. 

As for Israel, it has been hitting back at targets deeper and deeper inside Lebanon. Overnight Monday-Tuesday the IDF struck a site in the distant Baalbek region, which is known to host Hezbollah bases and command units. Israeli jets have also continued to strike 'Iranian assets' inside Syria as well, often using Lebanese airspace to avoid Syrian anti-air defenses.