Iran rejects Israeli downing of drone as ‘ridiculous’ claim

“The claim about the flight of an Iranian drone…is so ridiculous that it does not merit a comment,” an Iranian spokesman stated.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi dismissed Israel’s statement that it intercepted an Iranian drone launched from Syria as “ridiculous.”

Early Saturday morning, the IDF announced that an Israeli Air Force (IAF) helicopter intercepted an Iranian UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) launched from Syria over Israeli airspace and engaged Iranian targets in Syria in response.

“The claim about the flight of an Iranian drone and Iran’s involvement in the downing of a Zionist fighter jet is so ridiculous that it does not merit a comment,” Qassemi said on Saturday.

“This is because the Islamic Republic of Iran has advisory [and not military] presence in Syria at the request of the country’s legitimate and lawful government,” he added.

Israel published photos of the drone as well as footage of its downing.

In response to the Iranian breach of Israeli airspace, the IAF bombed several targets in Syria, including the vehicle from which the drone was controlled.

The Syrians shot down an IAF F-16 fighter jet that was on its way back. Qassemi defended the Syrian army’s reaction to Israel, saying, “the government and army of Syria, as an independent country, have a legitimate right to defend [Syria’s] territorial integrity and counter any kind of foreign aggression.”

A pro-Assad Shiite military alliance in Syria said in a statement on Saturday that Israel will see a severe and serious response to its “terrorism.” The statement also claims that the Iranian-made drones, one of which Israel had shot down, were being used against the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group.

Iran in an ‘awkward situation’

Experts estimate that the Iranians were testing a new stealth drone, styled after the RQ-170 Sentinel, an American model that they captured in 2011. Israel’s detection and downing of the new drone prove that Iran’s efforts failed, they say.

Amos Yadlin, IDF General (ret.) and former head of IDF Intelligence, commented on Iran’s response, saying that Iran was spreading “conflicting facts and disinformation.” For instance,  “the UAV was directed at the Syrian rebels, Syria was defending itself, etc.”

“And so it seems that our enemies are lying to themselves and their people – a sign that they are in an awkward situation,” Yadlin said.

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He further commented that the weekend violence was “the most significant day of fighting in the [Israel’s] ‘campaign between wars’ and that the IDF demonstrated most impressive intel and strike capabilities. Despite the containment of the incident, the campaign is expected to continue.”

“The Iranians are determined to build a military power in the Levant and Israel is determined to stop them,” Yadlin concluded.