One drone was intercepted by a fighter jet and the other two by a warship, according to Israeli military sources.

Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah movement has confirmed launching drones towards the offshore area.
Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah movement has confirmed launching drones towards the offshore area. (Reuters)

The Israeli army says it has intercepted three drones launched by Lebanon's Hezbollah movement headed towards an offshore gas field in the Mediterranean.

"Three hostile drones approaching the airspace in Israel's economic waters have been intercepted," the army said in a statement on Saturday, adding that the drones were headed towards the Karish gas field, which is partly claimed by Lebanon.

The drones were not armed and did not pose a risk, Israeli military sources said. One drone was intercepted by a fighter jet and the other two by a warship, the sources said.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah movement confirmed the development.

"On Saturday afternoon, three unarmed drones were launched towards the disputed Karish field for reconnaissance missions," the Shia group said in a statement.

"The mission was accomplished," it added, without mentioning any Israeli interception.

READ MORE: Lebanon's Hezbollah threatens to hit Israel's gas rig in disputed area

Tension simmers

Lebanon condemned Israel last month when a vessel operated by London-listed Greek energy firm Energean entered Karish field.

Israel claims that the field lies in its waters and is not part of the disputed area subject to ongoing negotiations on the maritime border.

Hezbollah warned Energean against proceeding with its activities.

Lebanon and Israel resumed negotiations on their maritime border in 2020, but the process was stalled by Beirut's claim that the map used by the United Nations in the talks needed modifying.

Lebanon initially demanded 860 square kilometres (330 square miles) of waters it said were in dispute but then asked for an additional 1,430 square kilometres (552 square miles), including part of the Karish field.

Lebanon and Israel remain technically at war and have no diplomatic relations. UN peacekeepers patrol the border.

Israel fought a devastating war with Hezbollah in 2006 and regards the Iran-backed group as one of its principal enemies.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies