Hezbollah releases video of Israeli barges in disputed gas field


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

The footage was released as US energy envoy Amos Hochstein landed in Beirut to mediate ongoing talks between Lebanon and Israel over their maritime borders. Lebanon says the Karish gas field is disputed territory in ongoing maritime border negotiations, while Israel says it is within its internationally recognized economic waters.

Interim Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib said in a statement on Friday that Hochstein would brief Lebanon on Israel’s response to the Lebanese proposal in June, adding that he was optimistic that a deal could be reached soon. .

There was no immediate response to Israel’s video.

Footage shown on the Iran-backed party and militia’s Al-Manar TV showed reconnaissance drone barges over the Karish gas field and their coordinates. It ended with images of a rocket with the words “in range” in Arabic and Hebrew.

Earlier this month, the Israeli military shot down three unarmed Hezbollah drones flying over the Karish gas field in the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon’s interim Prime Minister Najib Mikati criticized Hezbollah, saying the move could pose risks for the country.

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

After his last visit in June, Hochstein told US-funded Al-Hurra TV that the Lebanese government had taken “a very big step forward” in presenting a more united approach, and planned that it could be progress towards a settlement.

The two countries, which have been officially at war since the establishment of Israel in 1948, both claim some 860 square kilometers (330 square miles) of Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon hopes to exploit offshore gas reserves as it grapples with the worst economic crisis in its modern history.

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