Iran used UAVs launched from Syria in an attempt to transfer explosives to Palestinian terror groups in Judea and Samaria, Israel’s Defense Minister said.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
Iran has attempted to smuggle explosive material to Palestinian terror groups in Judea and Samaria via UAVs launched from airports in Syria, Defense Minister Benny Gantz revealed in a bombshell statement on Tuesday morning.
During a defense conference at Reichman University in Herzliya, Gantz said that “Iran is not only using unmanned aerial vehicles to attack, but also to carry out weapons transfers to its proxies.”
In 2018, he said, the IDF had intercepted an Iranian drone laden with explosives that departed from the T4 airbase (Althias airport) near Homs, Syria. The UAV was bound for “terrorist elements” in Judea and Samaria, but was successfully neutralized over Beit She’an, Israel, near the Jordanian border.
He added that Iran has launched maritime attacks using UAVs from bases in the Islamic Republic’s south.
“UAVs are an accurate weapon that can reach strategic targets within thousands of kilometers, and thus this capability is already endangering Sunni countries, international forces in the Middle East and also countries in Europe and Africa,” Gantz said.
He noted that Iran also utilizes drones to achieve its goals outside of the region, “transferring oil and weapons to Venezuela, operating….in South America and trying to increase its influence into Afghanistan.”
Gantz said that Iran had been “consistently successful” at using proxy militias to create a major presence along the borders of Israel.
“The Iranians have surrounded the State of Israel with missiles while sitting safely in Tehran,” he said.
The Defense Minister was pessimistic about a possible return to the 2015 nuclear deal, saying that Israel would keep its options open for mitigating the threat of a nuclear Iran.
“In the face of the threat, the world has many tools to act, and it must exercise Plan B for the diplomatic option,” he said.
While acknowledging that “a diplomatic solution is preferable,” Gantz said that the “use of force…is a continuation of diplomacy by other means.”
The most important thing, he emphasized, is preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and said the Jewish State is not willing to commit to any particular course of action on the matter.