“What happened was similar to a declaration of war which allows us to resort to our right to defending our sovereignty,” the Lebanese president’s office quoted Aoun, who also said that Lebanese “are a people seeking peace, not war, and we don’t accept anyone threatening us in any war.”
This comes as a small unmanned reconnaissance drone crashed on Hezbollah's media center in the Dahiyeh suburbs of Beirut on Sunday. About 45 minutes later a second drone, which was likely sent by Israel to search for the first one, exploded in the air and fell nearby.
The leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, Hassan Nasrallah, and a political supporter of Aoun, said Sunday that the two Israeli drones were on a "suicide mission," warning that the movement will prevent Israel from sending more drones to Lebanon.
Nasrallah said that Hezbollah would do anything to prevent such incidents from occurring again.
Also early Monday, the Israeli air force carried out three strikes against a base of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in the Lebanese town of Qusaya, near the Syrian border.
"From now on, we will down any Israeli drones in Lebanon's skies," as it is a first clear dangerous breach of rules of engagement since the two sides fought a month-long war in 2006, during which Hezbollah inflicted a historic defeat on Israeli forces after Tel Aviv launched a missile campaign against southern Lebanon in an attempt to claim more territory.
The fighting lasted 33 days and claimed the lives of more than 1,000 Lebanese civilians. About 1,000,000 people were displaced.
As tensions rise, in what is likely a campaign strategy by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to up the warmongering and nationalistic rhetoric prior to Sept. 17 elections, Lebanon’s Aoun discussed the “Israeli assault” with the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Jan Kubis, on Monday.
The Lebanese head of state told Kubis the attacks in the Dahyeh suburbs and in the Bekaa violated U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the July 2006 war. Aoun and Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri called for Lebanon’s Higher Defence Council to meet on Tuesday.
“Any escalation could develop into a regional cycle of violence that nobody can predict the extent of,” Hariri told ambassadors from the U.N. Security Council’s five permanent members.