Hezbollah airs video of Israeli ships in disputed gas field

31 July 2022, 10:14

An Israeli navy vessel patrols in the Mediterranean Sea
Israel Lebanon. Picture: PA

The footage was aired as US energy envoy Amos Hochstein was landing in Beirut to mediate talks between Lebanon and Israel over their sea borders.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah on Sunday aired drone footage of Israeli ships in a disputed gas field in the Mediterranean Sea, highlighting the tension at the centre of US-mediated maritime border talks between Lebanon and Israel.

The footage was aired as US energy envoy Amos Hochstein was landing in Beirut to mediate ongoing talks between Lebanon and Israel over their sea borders.

Lebanon claims the Karish gas field is disputed territory under ongoing maritime border negotiations, whereas Israel says it lies within its internationally recognised economic waters.

Lebanese caretaker Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib said in a statement on Friday that Mr Hochstein will inform Lebanon of Israel’s response to his country’s June proposal, adding that he is optimistic about reaching an agreement soon.

There was no immediate response to the video from Israel.

The footage, aired on the Iran-backed party and militia’s Al-Manar television, showed barges from reconnaissance drones over the Karish gas field and their co-ordinates. It ended with footage of a rocket with the words “within range” in Arabic and Hebrew.

Earlier this month, the Israeli military shot down three Hezbollah unarmed drones flying over Karish.

Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati criticised Hezbollah, saying the move could pose risks to the country.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in an interview last week that the militant group can locate and strike Karish and any other Israeli gas fields.

Following his last visit in June, Mr Hochstein told US-funded Al-Hurra television that the Lebanese government took “a very strong step forward” by presenting a more united approach, and anticipated that there could be progress to reach a settlement.

The two countries, which have been officially at war since Israel’s creation in 1948, both claim some 330 square miles (860 sq km) of the Mediterranean Sea.

Lebanon hopes to exploit offshore gas reserves as it grapples with the worst economic crisis in its modern history.

By Press Association

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