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Report: U.S. asks Israel not to respond to drone launch

April 27, 2013 at 7:42 PM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, April 27 (UPI) -- The United States has asked Israel to refrain from retaliation for a drone that was shot down over Haifa Bay, a western diplomat was quoted as saying.

Israel's Ynetnews cited a story in the Al Nahar newspaper in Lebanon, quoting the diplomat in Beirut -- whose name was not reported -- as saying the United States feared the drone incident might be a distraction from allegations Syria has used chemical weapons.

The diplomat told the newspaper Saturday U.S. officials pointed out to Israel the drone did no damage and Israel has not ascertained what group was responsible, or whether the drone was being used for an attempted airstrike or simply surveillance.

Hezbollah in Lebanon has denied responsibility for the drone. The Jerusalem Post reported Israeli intelligence believes the Iranian Revolutionary Guard might be responsible.

"The Israeli military command doesn't treat drones launched from Lebanon lightly, since their goal may be not only taking pictures, but also an assassination of senior officials, military or political," the diplomat was quoted as saying.

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