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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Iran admits to supplying Hezbollah with drones

A senior Iranian official has admitted that Tehran supplied Hezbollah with the drone that spent several minutes in Israeli skies in the north of the country on Sunday, an Arab-language newspaper reported Wednesday.
Haaretz reported Tuesday that Iranian drone experts from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards took part in the launch from Lebanon of a Hezbollah drone that spent several minutes over northern Israel this week.

On Wednesday, the Arab-language Al-Shark Al-Awsat newspaper, which is published in London, quoted a senior official in the Revolutionary Guards as saying that the drone was one of eight Iran-produced unmanned airborne vehicles that the country gave Hezbollah in August.

Iran also supplied Hezbollah with surface-to-surface missiles that have a 70-kilometer range, according to the report.

The official also said Iran had launched similar drones over Iraq to garner information on American military activity there.

The first launch of an Iranian drone by Hezbollah ended with the plane crashing on its way back to Lebanon. The drone apparently carried a camera capable of transmitting images while the plane is in motion.

The Hezbollah operatives were trained in the use of the plane by experts from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

The Iranian activity can be regarded as a clear-cut case of aggression against Israel.

What makes it unusual is that Iranian military experts from the Revolutionary Guards sent their people to a third country to act against Israel. They have usually supported Palestinian terror groups with money or weapons, but in this case, Iranians were involved directly in launching the drone and preparing it for its mission.