Hezbollah ruins Israeli drone contract
Hezbollah’s recent revelation in airing photos taken by Israel’s unmanned surveillance planes has markedly affected the sale of the drones.
On August 9, Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah said the Lebanese resistance movement had intercepted Israeli drone transmissions and used the intelligence in a deadly attack on Israeli commandos in the Lebanese coastal village of Antsaria back in 1997.
Nasrallah also presented footage taken by Israeli drones of routes taken by Lebanon’s slain Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri prior his assassination in February 2005, saying the video proved Israel’s involvement in the murder.
Citing a report by Jane’s Defense Weekly, al-Manar said the televised speech and the revelation has affected agreements between Tel Aviv and Moscow for purchasing Israeli surveillance drones.
Russian officials had reportedly launched talks with Israeli counterparts on a drone sale contract worth USD 300 million, but the Israeli side had to pull out of the negotiations due to security considerations.
Experts believe Hezbollah’s interception of the intelligence collected by the drones will affect the willingness of other countries such as Brazil, India and Turkey to purchase the spy aircraft.