Israel Downed Drones Launched From Iran 'In Coordination With Other Countries'

Incident happened in 2021, but cleared for publication just now. IDF says the Iranian drones – carrying firearms and ammunition – were testing airlifting military equipment to Gaza

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F-35i "Adir" aircraft
F-35i "Adir" aircraftCredit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

Israeli military planes intercepted two Iranian drones en route to Israel in March last year, according to the IDF's Spokesperson's unit on Sunday.

The Iranian drones were intercepted before entering Israeli airspace "in coordination with neighboring countries," according to the statement, and were monitored throughout their flight. They were intercepted by two F-35 aircraft.

The drones, launched from Iranian territory and carrying firearms and ammunition, were an attempt to test whether military equipment could be smuggled to Gaza via drone, Israeli officials estimate.

It was also a test to determine whether more significant weapons could be transferred via such a smuggling infrastructure in the future.

In recent years drones have been used as a means of friction between Israel and Iran, in Israeli attempts to infiltrate Iranian aircraft and by Iranian affiliates in the region, led by Hezbollah.

About three weeks ago, a small unmanned aircraft from Lebanon entered Israeli territory, but it was not intercepted and returned to Lebanon.

Iron Dome batteries near Israel's northern border, last month.Credit: JALAA MAREY - AFP

Hezbollah's Al-Manar television station reported the same day that Hezbollah had launched a drone that flew over Israeli territory undisturbed for 40 minutes in order to gather information and then returned to Lebanon.

Following the intrusion of the aircraft, alarms were activated in the Galilee, and later that day foreign media reported that Israeli Air Force fighter jets were seen flying over Beirut.

A day before, the IDF announced that it had downed a Hezbollah skimmer that had entered Israeli territory – Hezbollah's sixth drone intercepted by the army in the past year.

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