Iranian Sponsored Hezbollah Flies Drone Around Israeli Gas Rig In Disputed Waters
ISRAEL - The Iranian Sponsored, Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah stated that it had flown 3 drones, which were unarmed, towards a natural gas rig operated by Israel in the Mediterranean, and the Israeli military has intercepted them. Israel says that they shot the three drones down, and that one was shot down with an F-16 jet and the other two were downed by the naval Barak 8 medium-range surface-to-air missile system on the INS Eilat.
Hezbollah has stated that the drones were on a recon mission, and the mission had been successful. There has not been any immediate response from the official Lebanese government. The Israeli military carried out an investigation that stated that the drones were unarmed, and that they did not pose any real threat which seems to confirm reports by the Hezbollah that they were on a recon mission.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that the "Hezbollah was preventing the state of Lebanon from reaching an agreement regarding maritime borders, which are critical to the economy and prosperity of the Lebanese nation. This is despite the willingness of the State of Israel to move forward in the negotiations and to reach a solution on the issue".
Gantz also warned that Israel is prepared to defend its infrastructure against any threat, saying that "The State of Israel will continue to defend its assets. We are obligated and will preserve our right to operate and respond to any threat". The waters that the gas rig is in is in dispute between Lebanon and Israel, known as the Karish gas field.
"The Karish gas field (Hebrew: מאגר כריש or "Shark reservoir") is a natural gas reservoir located in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is located near the much larger Leviathan and Tamar gas fields. The field had initially been allocated to a consortium of companies including Noble Energy (now Chevron) and Delek, but due to their monopolistic position in the Israeli market (as owners of the Tamar and Leviathan fields), Delek and Noble were forced by regulators to sell their rights in the field. As a result, the two companies sold Karish and the adjacent Tanin gas field to the Greek oil company Energean in 2016 for $150 million.  The Karish and Tanin gas fields together are estimated to hold 2–3 trillion cubic feet of gas. The field is expected to come online in the third quarter of 2022," - Wikipedia
There has been an ongoing dispute since a lawsuit was filed in 2019 by Tsabar Gas and Oil against a company called Energean, claiming that Energean had denied Tsabar Gas its share in its role of aiding Energean in the acquisition of the Karish gas field.
This marks the first time that the Israeli naval Barak 8 medium-range surface-to-air missile system has been used against threats from the air.