Gen. Hossein Salami (L) and Amir Ali Hajizadeh commander of Aerospace Force of the IRGC, unveiling a new combat drone called ‘Gaza’ in tribute to Palestinians, in the capital Tehran, on May 21, 2021. (AFP)

March 7, 2022

The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday announced that it downed several Iranian drones heading for the Gaza Strip last year.

Two aircraft were intercepted by F-35 jets far from Israel’s borders in March 2021, the IDF said in a statement. According to Channel 12 news, a third drone was downed using electronic warfare means.

“The interception of the UAVs was carried out prior to them entering Israeli airspace, in coordination with neighboring countries,” the military said.

“The UAVs were detected and tracked throughout their flight by ground control units,” it added.

The IDF said it was the first time F-35 jets have been used to take down a drone.

According to Hebrew-language media reports, the drones were carrying firearms, specifically pistols, destined for terror groups in Gaza.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz accused Iran last November of launching a drone from Syria into Israeli airspace in 2018, to ferry TNT to terrorist operatives in the West Bank.

The timing of the military’s announcement on Sunday, a full year after the incident, was unclear.

Last month, Israeli television reported that Israel and its regional allies were developing a joint defense pact to protect against the threat of drones.

According to Channel 12 news, Israel began working on the arrangement with regional countries following drone and cruise missile attacks on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that have been attributed to Iran’s proxies in Yemen and Iraq.

The TV report came after Israeli air defenses failed to down a small drone that entered the country from Lebanon, which the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group claimed responsibility for launching.

It also follows a number of recent drone attacks on American forces in Iraq and targets in the UAE, including a strike on Abu Dhabi in January claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels that left three dead.

TOI

About Track Persia

Track Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.