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Defense Official: Israel Doubts Iran Has Drone Data

Oct. 29, 2012 - 09:56AM   |  
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TEL AVIV — A senior officer in Israel’s northern command on Oct. 29 dismissed an Iranian claim that Iran was in possession of data transmitted by an unmanned Hezbollah drone that flew over Israel earlier this month.

“I don’t think there was a camera,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity, although he admitted the incident was “still being investigated.”

Israel’s air force on Oct. 6 shot down the unarmed drone over the Negev desert after it entered the country’s airspace from the Mediterranean Sea.

At the time, the Israeli military dismissed the idea the drone could have been launched from Gaza and said it was examining the possibility it may have been sent by the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah.

Several days later, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said it was his movement that had sent the drone, saying the device was “Iranian built and assembled in Lebanon.”

“It overflew sensitive and important installations for dozens of kilometers until the enemy spotted it near (the nuclear site) Dimona,” he said, without identifying the installations.

In an interview broadcast on Sunday night, Esmaeel Kosari, who chairs the defense commission at the Iranian parliament, claimed the drone had “transmitted live data, photographing sensitive Israeli bases.”

“The photos of restricted areas are in Iran’s possession,” he told Iran’s Arabic-language Al-Alam television.

The Israeli officer said that to the best of his knowledge “there were no weapons on the drone.”

Even without gathering intelligence, the drone’s flight was “a show of ability,” he said, proving that “it could fly over Israel for a long time, which could develop into filming abilities.”

He also raised the possibility of future “suicide drones” that could carry explosives and be crashed into Israeli targets.

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