Israel fears future drone threat from Lebanon, Gaza

Israel fears future drone threat from Lebanon, Gaza

Israel fears fighters in Lebanon and Gaza would deploy exploding drones as well as their main rocket arsenals against the regime in a future war, the chief of Israeli air defense says.

“We will have to cope with dozens of pilotless aerial vehicles, in both the northern and southern fronts,” Major General Shachar Shohat, told a Tel Aviv security conference on Monday.

Israel is itself a world leader in drone technologies and has used the vehicles extensively in combat.

Shohat said the resistance fighters’ drones would range from radio-controlled model airplanes weighing a few kilos to large drones with payloads of hundreds of kilos.

Another air force officer said Shohat was referring to drones carrying explosives and designed to crash into targets.

The reference to the heavier kind of vehicle suggested Israel believes Lebanon’s Hezbollah group would receive such drones from Iran.

Hezbollah, Hamas and other resistance groups have fired thousands of rockets at Israel in previous conflicts, but have made scant use of drones.

Drones flew into Israeli airspace from Lebanon on at least two occasions in 2012 and 2013, apparently on photography missions and bids to probe air defenses.

After the 2012 incident, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah acknowledged sending a drone that flew some 40 km into Israel. He said the drone’s parts were made in Iran and it was assembled by Hezbollah members in Lebanon.

Nasrallah has denied that Hezbollah was responsible for the 2013 flight.

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