A senior Iranian commander said on Wednesday that downing the Israeli hostile drone was just the beginning of Iran’s retaliatory moves and Tel Aviv should wait for Tehran’s tougher responses, adding that the drone had started its mission from a country North of Iran.
“The destruction of the spy drone is not the end of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s (retaliatory) action as we will give our (main) response to the enemy in the occupied territories,” Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces for Cultural Affairs and Defense Publicity Brigadier General Massoud Jazzayeri told FNA on Wednesday.
He further expressed regret that a regional country North of Iran has collaborated with Israel and served as a launch-pad for the mission, and said, “We are waiting for that country which has cooperated with the Quds Occupying Regime (Israel) to send the drone to Iran to make up for its wrong deed; otherwise, we will declare its name.”
Jazzayeri said that the drone had taken off from a former Soviet republic in the North of Iran.
Senior Generals in Tehran had warned on Tuesday that Iran would not give a diplomatic response to the violation of its airspace by the Israeli spy drone which was shot downed near Natanz nuclear site a few days ago, and said Tel Aviv should wait for Iran’s retaliatory moves in battlefield.
“Our response to this aggression will not be diplomatic, we will retaliate in the battlefield, but will not necessarily announce it. The enemy will see and understand it,” Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Hossein Salami said, addressing a ceremony to commemorate martyred Basij (volunteer) forces in Tehran.
“We never step back (in the confrontation) against the enemy. The Islamic Republic is powerful and is capable of confronting any power at any level and we never bring down the level of our goals,” he added.
Salami said although the shooting down of the Israeli spy drone seems to be only one of the few cases tactically, it sent a powerful strategic message to the enemy in the field of defense.
The IRGC Aerospace Force shot down an Israeli spy drone before it could reach Natanz nuclear enrichment facility on Sunday.
On Tuesday, Salami announced that Iran knows well from which country and which base the Israeli drone that it shot down a few days ago had taken off.
“What some people say that the drone had started its flight from Israel is not correct and we are almost certain about its origin, yet we would like to reserve judgment at present,” Salami told reporters in Tehran on Tuesday.
He further pointed out that the drone had been traced as soon as it cross Iran’s borders, but “it was allowed to enter the country to see the intention (of the hostile forces operating it) and then we targeted and hit it at the right time”.
Asked if Iran would reverse engineer the aircraft to start its production, Salami said that Iran doesn’t need to do so “although we have the power to do so”, implying that technology of the Israeli drone, which was a Hermes model, does not have anything new to Iran.
The IRGC Public Relations Department said in a statement on Sunday that the Israeli pilotless aircraft was a radar-evading, stealth drone with the mission to spy on Iran’s enrichment activities by flying over Natanz nuclear enrichment plant.
The IRGC also pointed out in its statement that the Israeli hostile aircraft has been targeted by a surface-to-air missile.
Commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh announced on Monday that “the downed spy drone is Hermes and made in Israel”.
He said the operational range of Hermes drones is 800 kilometers, adding that the aircraft can fly 1,600 kilometers by refueling once.
The General said parts of the aircraft have burnt out after it was targeted by the ground-to-air missiles of the IRGC Aerospace Force and after its fuel tank blast, yet “some parts of this drone are intact and we are now analyzing the information and intel of these parts”.
Elaborating on the details of the down Israeli aircraft, the commander further stated that the drone, which is 5.5 meters wide in wings, is equipped with two cameras which can take high-quality photos.
“There was no prior information available about the aircraft and the only one of this type had been downed in Syria, but this one is more advanced,” General Hajizadeh said.
The Elbit Systems Hermes 450 is an Israeli medium size multi-payload UAV, designed for tactical long endurance missions.
It has a flight endurance of over 20 hours, with a primary mission of reconnaissance, surveillance and communications relay.
Senior IRGC officials announced on Sunday night that IRGC experts are extracting information from those parts of the plane that have remained intact.
Director of the IRGC’s Public Relations Department General Ramezan Sharif told FNA on Sunday night that some of the parts of the downed aircraft are working, “and our experts are studying the information and intelligence of these parts”.
“We are now analyzing the information of this plane,” he added.
The IRGC has warned that it “reserves the right of response and retaliation for itself”.
Gen. Hajizadeh as well as Basij Commander Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi have underlined that Iran would speed up arming the West Bank in retaliation to the Israeli aggression, although they have warned that this would not be Iran’s only response.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham on Monday strongly condemned Israel’s hostile move as a violation of Iran’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and said “We…pursue the issue at legal and international bodies… within the framework of international regulations.”