BEIRUT—In late August, an Israeli airstrike on a compound south of Damascus killed two Hezbollah fighters, who had reportedly been working alongside members of the Quds Force, the elite branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, to launch drone attacks on Israeli territory. According to the Israeli army, the airstrike thwarted an imminent attack.
Hours later, two mini rotary drones, one fitted with explosives, crashed into the southern suburbs of Beirut, a Hezbollah stronghold, damaging a Hezbollah media office. Details of the incident remain foggy, but reports suggest that Israel had dispatched the drones to target a machine used to mix solid-fuel components for Hezbollah’s long-range missiles, which was housed in a shipping container next to the same building.
Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, appeared on television the next day to warn that the group would avenge the deaths of the two Hezbollah fighters, while also putting Israel on notice that its drones, which Israel routinely flies over Lebanese territory, would no longer be safe.