Skip to main content

Lebanon’s Hezbollah stages war games, unveils drone weapon against Israel

The exercises elicited condemnation from local parties in Lebanon.
Lebanese Hezbollah fighters take part in cross-border raids, part of large-scale military exercise, in Aaramta bordering Israel on May 21, 2023 ahead of the anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000. (Photo by ANWAR AMRO / AFP) (Photo by ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images)

BEIRUT — Lebanon’s paramilitary Hezbollah movement staged war games Sunday near the border with Israel. Around 200 fighters showcased Hezbollah's growing capabilities, and a heavy arsenal including a new anti-drone weapon.

The Hezbollah-affiliated al-Manar media outlet posted photos of the exercises, which included simulated drone and sniper attacks. Videos of the drills circulated in the media. In one clip, fighters are seen jumping through flaming hoops. Light and heavy arms were on display including anti-aircraft weapons, rocket launchers and rocket-propelled grenades. 

In one photo shared via Twitter, al-Manar said Hezbollah unveiled a new weapon to intercept and destroy drones.

The games simulated an attack using dirt bikes, operations to capture Israeli soldiers and raids into Israeli settlements.



Hezbollah’s media office extended a rare invitation to media outlets last week to attend the live exercises at one of its training sites in the village of Aaramta, 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of the Israeli border. The drills marked the 23rd so-called Resistance and Liberation Day, commemorating when the last Israeli troops withdrew from southern Lebanon on May 25, 2000, following intense battles with Hezbollah.

Sunday’s drills were seen as the largest show of Hezbollah’s military force in years.

“The weapons will remain in the resistance’s hands until complete victory is achieved,” said Hashem Safieddine, head of Hezbollah's executive council.

The drills aim to show “the resistance's full readiness to confront any aggression,” Safiedine added during his speech during the exercises.

While Lebanon and Israel remain in a state of war since the Israeli withdrawal in 2000, the two countries’ armies have not engaged in direct confrontation. However, Hezbollah fought a brutal war with Israel in 2006 lasting more than a month. Since then, occasional skirmishes have erupted along the border. Hezbollah has also sent drones toward Israeli territory.

Condemnation inside Lebanon

The massive show of force drew widespread condemnation domestically.

“Hezbollah’s maneuvers in the south are first and foremost a message of defiance to the Lebanese people and second to the Arab summit,” the head of the Kataeb Party Sami Gemayel said in a tweet.

“We will not yield to the weapons and we refuse to see our country and youth exploited for foreign agendas,” he added.

For his part, the head of the Lebanese Forces political party, Samir Geagea, categorically rejected the exercises.

“Hezbollah has sent a clear message to all Lebanese, as well as Arab and international communities, that whatever you try to do, we will not allow you to build a true state in Lebanon,” he said in a tweet on Monday.



Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati expressed his government’s rejection of any act along the border that might undermine the country’s security, though he stopped short of condemning Hezbollah.

“The issue of Hezbollah’s arms requires comprehensive national consensus,” he told UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka during a meeting at the government headquarters in Beirut.

Hezbollah, founded in the 1980s under the banner of fighting the Israeli occupation, remained the only Lebanese faction to keep its weapons after the end of the country’s civil war in 1990 and after the Israeli withdrawal in 2000. The party insists that its growing arsenal is necessary for resistance against Israel.

Hezbollah has continued to develop its stockpiles and expanded its military engagement into the Syria and Yemen conflicts. Politically, the movement has also expanded its influence and gained a foothold on the internal political scene.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah is expected to deliver a televised speech on the occasion of Liberation Day on Thursday. 

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Security Briefing Security Briefing

Security Briefing

Middle East defense and security in your inbox

Trend Reports

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (4th R) attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (3rd L) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on February 22, 2019. (Photo by HOW HWEE YOUNG / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read HOW HWEE YOUNG/AFP via Getty Images)

From roads to routers: The future of China-Middle East connectivity

A general view shows the solar plant in Uyayna, north of Riyadh, on March 29, 2018. - On March 27, Saudi announced a deal with Japan's SoftBank to build the world's biggest solar plant. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Regulations on Middle East renewable energy industry starting to take shape

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial