Israel deploys missile defense system days after shooting down suspect drone over its skies
JERUSALEM — Israel has deployed a missile defense battery in a main city near the Lebanese border, the military said Tuesday, two days after warplanes shot down an unmanned aircraft that entered Israeli skies.
An army spokesman said the Patriot missile defense battery has been stationed in the northern city of Haifa. He refused to say if the battery’s deployment was connected to Saturday’s drone incident.
He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations.
The drone entered Israeli airspace from the Mediterranean coast and flew for about 20 minutes before it was shot down over remote desert terrain. Israeli officials say they began tracking the craft before it reached Israel, waiting to bring it down in order to avert possible casualties on the ground.
The military has not said where the drone originated or who produced it. But it appeared to be the work of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah, which possesses advanced Iranian weapons and has sent drones toward Israel in the past.
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Drone flight shows Israel’s vulnerability: IRGC official
TEHRAN – An Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) general has said that the fact that an unmanned aerial vehicle recently penetrated deep into Israeli airspace shows the vulnerability of Israel’s air defenses.
The Israeli air force shot down a drone on Saturday after it crossed into southern Israel, but it remained unclear where the aircraft had come from, Reuters reported on Monday.
During a press conference in Tehran on Monday, Brigadier General Jamaloddin Aberoumand, the deputy coordinator of Iran’s IRGC, said, “In view of the fact that they have announced that the unmanned aerial vehicle had penetrated about 100 kilometers into the occupied territories shows that the Zionist regime suffers from many weaknesses.”
He also said that the incident indicated that Israel’s Iron Dome and its anti-missile defense system “are not very efficient and lack the required capability.”
The Iron Dome system, jointly funded with the United States, is a mobile all-weather air defense system designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances of 4 to 70 kilometers away.
According to Reuters, the drone was first spotted above the Mediterranean near the Gaza Strip to the west of Israel. An Israeli warplane shot it down above a forest near the occupied West Bank.
Israeli parliament member Miri Regev, a former chief spokesman of the military, has claimed that it was an “Iranian drone launched by Hezbollah.”
Israeli defense officials have not confirmed the claim.
Aberoumand also did not confirm the claim and said, “The action might have been a psychological operation carried out by the Zionist regime.”
“Another point is that the Zionist regime has many enemies,” he added.
Israel has threatened to strike Iranian nuclear facilities if the major world powers fail to stop the country’s nuclear program.
Iran insists that its nuclear program is meant for peaceful purposes and said that it will target U.S. military bases in the region and retaliate against Israel if it is attacked.