israel radar blimp missile detection
© Israel Ministry of DefenseA massive blimp containing an advanced radar system that Israel plans to deploy into the sky over northern Israel to detect incoming missiles and drones, as seen at its home base on November 3, 2021.
Terror group claims to target missile-detecting balloon in deepest strike in Israel amid war; in response, air force attacks weapon manufacturing plant in northeastern Lebanon

Hezbollah managed to hit a sensitive military facility in the Lower Galilee with an explosive drone on Wednesday evening, the Israel Defense Forces confirmed Thursday, as fighter jets responded by striking targets belonging to the terror group in northeastern Lebanon.

In the attack on Wednesday, Hezbollah claimed to have launched explosive-laden drones at an Israeli Air Force base from which a giant missile-detecting blimp, known as Sky Dew, is operated.

The base is located near Golani Junction, some 35 kilometers (21 miles) from the Lebanon border.

Two drones were launched in the attack, with one being downed by air defenses, according to the military.

The second explosive drone struck the facility, and the damage was being assessed by the military.

It marked Hezbollah's deepest strike in Israel amid the war.

Hezbollah has launched thousands of drones, missiles, and rockets at northern Israel in the past seven months, though the attacks have largely been limited to the border area. Until Wednesday, the terror group had fired projectiles at Israeli targets up to around 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the frontier.

The Sky Dew aerostat is deployed at high altitudes to detect incoming long-range missiles, cruise missiles, and drones. It was first used some two years ago, but the system is not yet operational and has seen significant setbacks with its deployment.

In response to the attack, the Israeli Air Force carried out strikes overnight in northeastern Lebanon's Baalbek, a Hezbollah stronghold some 100 kilometers from the border.

The strike targeted a Hezbollah weapons manufacturing plant, used to build guided munitions and drones, according to military assessments.

Lebanese media described the Israeli strike as the largest in the Baalbek region amid the war.

Hezbollah said the drone attack was a response to recent Israeli strikes in southern Lebanon that killed members of the terror group. On Tuesday night, a top field commander, Hussein Ibrahim Makki, was killed in an IDF drone strike.
Hussein Ibrahim Makki Hezbollah field commander killed
© Hezbollah media officeHussein Ibrahim Makki, a top Hezbollah field commander killed in an Israeli drone strike, May 14, 2024.
Makki, according to Israeli military sources, was the intelligence officer of Hezbollah's Southern Front unit, a relatively senior role in the terror group.

Following the strike, Hezbollah carried out several major attacks on northern Israel, including the drone attack.

Since October 8, Hezbollah-led forces have attacked Israeli communities and military posts along the border on a near-daily basis, with the group saying it is doing so to support Gaza amid the war there.

So far, the skirmishes on the border have resulted in ten civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of 14 IDF soldiers and reservists. There have also been several attacks from Syria, without any injuries.

Hezbollah has named 298 members who have been killed by Israel during the ongoing skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon but some also in Syria. In Lebanon, another 60 operatives from other terror groups, a Lebanese soldier, and at least 60 civilians have been killed.