RAMALLAH, August 9 (JMCC) - The Israeli military has deployed unmanned surveillance drones over natural gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea that it claims, despite Lebanese objections, reports the Jerusalem Post
In early July, the cabinet approved the demarcation of Israel’s northern maritime border with Lebanon, which sets the economic rights in offshore territories that have become lucrative with the recent discoveries of vast natural-gas resources.
The government’s decision to delineate the line was made to combat Lebanese claims to offshore territories that Israel claims as its own.
The decision to deploy IAF drones was made after Hezbollah warned Israel that it would protect Lebanon’s maritime sovereignty. Lebanon “will remain vigilant in order to regain its full rights, whatever it takes,” Hezbollah deputy chief Naim Qassem was quoted as saying.
The Israel Navy has already drafted an operational plan for protecting the offshore gas fields and the decision to deploy drones was made in order to maintain a 24-hour presence over the site. The IAF operates the Heron unmanned aerial vehicle, developed by Israel Aerospace Industries, which comes with a special electro-optic payload for maritime operations.