Hezbollah releases video it says shows surveillance of Israeli-occupied Golan

FILE PHOTO: Interceptions of rockets launched from Lebanon to Israel over the border, amid ongoing cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, close the Israeli border with Lebanon, on its Israel side

By Jana Choukeir

DUBAI (Reuters) - Lebanon's Hezbollah published an almost 10-minute video on Tuesday showing footage of 17 military sites in the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights which it said had been gathered by the armed group's surveillance aircraft.

The video is the second episode in a series intended to show how far Hezbollah's surveillance of Israel has reached as tensions mount over Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza and over frequent exchanges of fire across Lebanon's border with Israel.

The Iran-aligned group published a more than nine-minute video in June of what it said was surveillance footage of locations in Israel, including the city of Haifa's airport and sea ports.

"Publishing this video sends a clear message to the enemy and its army," said Hezbollah media relations officer Muhammad Afif.

"The importance stems from demonstrating our technical and technological capabilities in the field of surveillance and obtaining necessary information we need in times of war," Afif added.

Lebanese pro-Iranian television channel Al Mayadeen said in June, after the first video was published, that unmanned aircraft had bypassed Israel's defence systems and returned to Lebanon without being detected or shot down.

Hezbollah has sent both surveillance and attack drones into Israel since the start of the Israel-Hamas war last October, and has said the drone launches are in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The conflict between Hezbollah and Israel has been gradually intensifying for months, raising fears of a full-scale war, which both sides say they wish to avoid and diplomats are working to prevent it.

The United States and France are working on a negotiated settlement to the hostilities along Lebanon's southern border with Israel.

(Reporting by Jana Choukeir and Laila Bassam, Editing by Timothy Heritage)