Israel Says Iranian Base Spearheading Regional Drone Attacks

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Distribution of drones to Iranian proxies across the Middle East.
Distribution of drones to Iranian proxies across the Middle East.Credit: International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at IDC Herzliya

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Sunday that Iran's Kashan Airbase in being used to train "terrorists from Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon" to operate Iranian-made drones in order to carry out regional attacks.    

Speaking at a conference at Reichman University in Herzliya, Gantz said that "Terrorists from Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon are receiving training on how to operate Iran-made drones in the Kashan Base north of Isfahan. Kashan is leading Iran's export of aerial terrorism in the region." He called on the signatories of the Iran nuclear deal to enact sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

"One of the most significant tools that Iran has developed is its unmanned aerial vehicle system," Gantz said, "an accurate, deadly system that can cross thousands of kilometers. The Iranians produce and export them to their proxies," who coordinate with Iran. 

Kashan Airport, Iran. Credit: International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at IDC Herzliya

He added that Iran also "supplies the fuel that allows terror groups to survive and build themselves up." This is the case in Lebanon, he said, where Iran provides Hezbollah with fuel and other means that it needs in order to operate during the country's harrowing financial and political crisis, at the expense of Lebanon and its citizens. "This is also the case in Gaza, where Iran provides knowledge and arms for building advanced rockets."   

The defense minister also discussed the capture of four of the six high-security inmates who escaped from Gilboa Prison last week. "Israel has no intention of harming the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria and Gaza," he said, using the Hebrew name for the West Bank. "But if terror groups try to exploit the situation, they will be the first to pay the price."  

Following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Gantz said, the country may be used as a base of operations for terror groups, and it is already prudent to "prepare for action against the Taliban regime." He added that "Efforts against Iran and Afghanistan are not just a Middle Eastern or Arab issue...this effort is in the interest of every country and power that wants to safeguard the international rules of the game, including Russia and China." 

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem August 22, 2021.Credit: Reuters

He added that Israel must deepen its ties with Egypt and Jordan, as well as with other Arab states, including the Palestinian Authority. At the moment, "coordination with the Palestinian Authority and strengthening the Palestinian economy is much better than strengthening Iran's proxies within our borders," he said.

Last week, Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said during a visit to Russia that "There won't be stability in Syria, or in the wider Middle East, while there is an Iranian presence. Iran is the world's number one exporter of terror."

Lapid added that Israel will not sit by idly while Iran entrenches itself on the northern border, adding that "We of course recognize that Russia has key interests in the region. That is why we formed the military deconfliction mechanism – which is both necessary and effective."

Lapid also repeated the Israeli government's position on Iran's nuclear program, saying "Iran's march towards a nuclear weapon is not only an Israeli problem, It's a problem for the entire world," and that the message conveyed to Iran must be strong and clear.

"The world needs to stop Iran from getting a nuclear capability, no matter the price. If the world doesn't do it, Israel reserves the right to act," Lapid said.  

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