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War of Drones: Israel reportedly destroyed hundreds of Iranian drones

Report claims that Israeli aerial strike was carried out with six drones launched from the Kurdish region in northern Iraq

Illustrative - A drone is launched during a large-scale drone combat exercise of Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in Semnan, Iran, Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo: Iranian Army/WANA Handout via Reuters)

Israel targeted and destroyed hundreds of Iranian drones in an aerial attack in February, Israeli media reported on Tuesday. 

Al Mayadeen, a Lebanese TV station affiliated with Iran and Hezbollah, reported the alleged Israeli attack on Sunday, which claimed the target was an airbase close to the city Kermanshah in the western part of Iran. 

In recent years, the Jewish state has conducted hundreds of military strikes on hostile Iranian-affiliated targets, mainly – but not exclusively – in Syria.

However, an Israeli aerial attack deep inside Iranian territory is highly unusual and could signal an escalation in the ongoing shadow war between Jerusalem and Tehran that increasingly focuses on competing drone technologies. 

The report claims that the Israeli aerial strike was carried out with six drones launched from the Kurdish region in northern Iraq. The Iranian regime has blamed Israel for the attack despite the fact that the Jewish state has not officially assumed responsibility for the massive drone destruction. 

On Sunday, Iran claimed responsibility for a missile strike on an alleged Israeli “strategic center” in the city of Irbil in northern Iraq. The Iranian regime’s elite Revolutionary Guards issued an official statement declaring that a “strategic center for conspiracy and mischiefs of the Zionists was targeted by powerful precision missiles fired by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.”

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry quickly condemned the Iranian attack as a “flagrant violation of (Iraqi) sovereignty.”

Meanwhile, Kurdish officials in northern Iraq denied the existence of any Israeli sites in Iraqi Kurdistan. 

The Iranian regime increasingly uses drone technology as a tool for launching attacks against its Sunni Arab neighbors and Israel. In early January, the Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist militia in Yemen launched a lethal drone attack against the United Arab Emirates, killing three people. In late January, Emirati authorities thwarted another Houthi drone attack that coincided with Israeli President Isaac Herzog's official visit to the Gulf state. 

In February, two drones belonging to the pro-Iranian Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah, succeeded in infiltrating Israeli airspace without being intercepted by the Jewish state’s Iron Dome aerial defense system. 

During a speech at Israel's Reichman University in November, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz revealed the location of two secret Iranian drone bases being used to launch attacks throughout the Middle East. At the time, Gantz warned that drone technology in the hands of hostile regimes like Iran posed a strategic threat for the free world.

“I want to stress to you that unmanned aerial vehicles are a precision weapon, which can reach strategic targets throughout the world. Most of the drone attacks that we’ve seen so far have been from southern and southeastern Iran against targets at sea,” stated Gantz. 

Iran has an outdated air force and Hezbollah entirely lacks an air force. However, comparatively inexpensive drone technologies enable actors like Iran and Hezbollah to challenge Western-equipped regional players like Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 

The Israel Defense Forces recently revealed that it had used advanced F35 fighter jets to shoot down two Iranian drones that had been launched toward Israeli air space in 2021. 

“In March 2021, the Iranian regime launched two UAVs toward Israeli territory. The UAVs were successfully intercepted by the Israeli Air Force’s F-35i ‘Adir’ aircraft. This was the first operational interception of a UAV by an F-35i aircraft in the world. The interception was carried out successfully by F-35i ‘Adir’ aircraft (from the 116th and 140th Squadrons). The F-35i ‘Adir’ has demonstrated the ability to quickly and precisely detect, identify and engage a target,” read the IDF statement. 

The U.S. and Israel are considered world leaders in drone technologies. While Iran’s drone program is less advanced, ironically it has developed significantly over the years following Iran's successful capture of U.S. and Israeli drones that had crashed over Iranian territory. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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