Lebanese television reports Israeli F-16 downed over Beirut; Israel denies losing aircraft

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Lebanese television is reporting that an Israeli Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter aircraft has been shot down over Beirut.

Footage from the Lebanese Broadcasting Corportation (LBC) shows an aircraft being downed over the Lebanese capital. Israel is denying any of its aircraft are missing. Israel is conducting retaliation strikes against civilian targets within the Lebanon in response to the kidnapping of two of its soldiers by militia group Hezbollah. Subsequent escalation has seen rockets being fired into the northern Israeli city of Haifa, bringing down an apartment block.

Hezbollah has demonstrated more advanced ballistic weapons during this clash than has previously been attributed to the group, but it is considered unlikely that conventional shoulder-to-air man-portable air defences (Manpads) would have evaded the F-16s' countermeasures suite. Confirmation of the strike has yet to be made by Lebanese security forces.

Late last week Israeli soldiers are alleged by press freedom group Reporters Sans Frontières to have fired on the television news crew from another Lebanese channel New TV in a bid to restrict coverage of the air strikes.