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Lebanese president says Israel drone attacks on Lebanon amount to ‘declaration of war’

Lebanese President Michel Aoun says Israel’s recent drone strikes in Lebanon amounts to “a declaration of war” against the Arab country, vowing that Lebanon will defend its sovereignty against the Israeli aggression.

“What happened was similar to a declaration of war, which allows us to resort to our right to defending our sovereignty,” Aoun's office quoted him as saying during a meeting with the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Yan Kubish on Monday.

The Lebanese president’s remarks came a day after two drones crashed in Beirut's southern suburbs.

According to the Lebanese Resistance Movement, Hezbollah, the first drone had fallen on a building housing Hezbollah’s media office in Dahieh suburb. The second drone, which appeared to have been sent by Israel to search for the first one, had crashed in an empty plot nearby after being detonated in the air, it added.

Following the drone raids, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary general, vowed in a televised speech that fighters of the movement would counter any further violation of the Lebanese airspace by Israeli drones, warning the Tel Aviv regime to immediately halt such breaches. 

Both President Aoun and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri strongly denounced the Israeli aggression and called it a “threat to regional stability.” 

Late on Sunday, three Israeli drone attacks hit a central region of Bekaa province in eastern Lebanon near the border with Syria, allegedly targeting the positions of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The group, however, said in a statement that the attack had failed to target its posts.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Aoun told Kubish that the strikes in the Dahieh suburbs and in the Bekaa had violated UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended a July 2006 war between the Israeli regime and Hezbollah.

However, Aoun stressed that the Lebanese “are a people seeking peace not war, and we don't accept anyone threatening us in any war.”

Separately on Monday, Hariri said his government wanted to avoid escalation with the Israeli regime, urging the international community to speak out against Israel's “blatant violation” of his country’s sovereignty.

“The Lebanese government sees it best to avoid any sliding of the situation towards a dangerous escalation but this requires the international community affirming its rejection of this blatant violation,” he said, addressing the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

Israel has been cautious over the past years in its military encounters with Hezbollah, a group which seeks a total eviction of the occupying regime from the occupied Palestinian territories.

Hezbollah has previously accused Israel of supporting terrorist groups fighting against the Syrian government.

The Lebanese group has provided evidences suggesting that the regime in occupied Palestinian territories have transferred weapons to strongholds of terrorists in Syria.  

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