Iran's defense minister says Hezbollah's launch of a drone into Israeli airspace earlier this week proves Iranian military capabilities.
- Downed Drone Sent by Hezbollah
- Hezbollah Simulates Flight Path of Drone
- Iran: Drone Shows Israel Is Vulnerable
- For Ericsson? Sweden Nixes Iran Sanctions
- Iran Unveils New Self-made Drone
- Parts of Downed Drone Recovered
- UN: Iran Drone 'Reckless Provocation'
The Sunday statement by Gen. Ahmad Vahidi on Iranian state television came several days after the Lebanese militant group's leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah claimed responsibility for the launch and said the aircraft was made in Iran.
Israeli warplanes shot down the unmanned plane, but the infiltration marked a rare breach of Israel's tightly guarded airspace.
"Great job by Hezbollah," Gen. Vahidi said. He said Hezbollah had the right to launch the drone since Israeli warplanes routinely violate Lebanon's airspace.
Vahidi said Iran believed Hezbollah had the right to launch the drone into Israeli airspace since Israel's warplanes repeatedly violate Lebanese airspace".
Iran has said the incursion exposed the weakness of Israeli air defence, indicating that Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile defence system "does not work and lacks the necessary capacity."
The Iron Dome system, jointly funded with Washington, is designed to down short-range guerrilla rockets, not slow-flying aircraft.
Nasrallah warned Thursday that it would not be the last such operation by the group.
"We will leave it for the Israelis to sit down and discover the drone's abilities ... We are only revealing part of our capabilities and concealing many others," Nasrallah said.
Last week on Saturday, the Israeli Air Force shot down an unidentified aerial vehicle that penetrated Israel's airspace.
After travelling east some 35 miles (56 km) across Israel's southern Negev desert, the drone was shot down above a forest in an unpopulated area near the border with the West Bank, the IDF spokesperson said.
The IDF said that the drone arrived in Israel from the west after flying over the Mediterranean and the Gaza Strip.