On Oct. 6, the Israeli Air Force shot down a foreign drone near the Yatir Forest in the northern Negev. While the Israeli media quickly pointed the finger at Iran and Hezbollah, Israeli defense officials refrained from disclosing the drone’s origin.
Earlier today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charged that Hezbollah was responsible for the drone. A couple of hours later, the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, said that Hezbollah was in fact behind the drone, which he named “Ayoub.” According to Nasrallah, the drone was manufactured by Iran and assembled in Lebanon.
During his televised speech, Nasrallah declared that “[i]t is our natural right to send other reconnaissance flights inside occupied Palestine…. This is not the first time and will not be the last. We can reach any place we want.” In addition, he claimed that Hezbollah is revealing only parts of its capabilities, while concealing others.
According to a recent Channel 10 report, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) believes that Hezbollah is in possession of dozens of drones, some of which are able to carry explosives. However, the drones are said to be obsolete models that are no longer in use by most nations. Earlier this year, Yedioth Ahronoth reported that “Hezbollah has been allocating increased resources towards bolstering its drone unit.”
During the 2006 war with Hezbollah, the Israeli Air Force shot down a number of Hezbollah drones, and in 2004 an Iranian-made drone spent approximately five minutes in Israeli territory. In April 2005, a Hezbollah drone (Mirsad-1) was sent over Israel. According to a secret cable released by Wikileaks, Syrian intelligence officers may have helped Hezbollah with this launch.