The Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s threat Thursday night of more UAV’s over Israel aroused concern in the Israeli high command that Iranian drones had been smuggled into the hands of the Palestinian Hamas extremists ruling the Gaza Strip. He implied that Tehran or Hizballah might ask Hamas to release them over Israel, possibly in coordination with UAV intrusions from Lebanon.
After rolling out Hizballah statistics claiming Israel had violated Lebanese airspace 20, 864 times (!), Nasrallah said in his televised speech: “This is our natural right and we will send them whenever we want and this will not be the last time.”
The successful penetration of two Iranian stealth drones – one from the Gaza Strip and one from Lebanon – would be celebrated in Tehran and Beirut as a major feat against the Zionist enemy, say DEBKAfile’s military sources - especially after last Saturday, Oct. 6, when an Iranian UAV, which Nasrallah named “Ayyoub,” managed to fly over strategic Israeli sites including the nuclear reactor in Dimona before it was brought down.
Israeli surveillance has noted unusual Hamas activity of late to camouflage certain sites in the Gaza Strip, raising the suspicion that Hamas or the Iranian-backed Jihad Islami had taken delivery of a drone, drones or the disassembled components thereof.
If so, IDF sources would expect the Palestinian extremists to refrain from assembling those components for fear that a large flying object would be quickly spotted by Israeli surveillance and destroyed forthwith. Those sources believe, however, that Hizballah officers have arrived in the Gaza Strip to show Hamas technical crews how to assemble the drones at speed and launch them before Israeli intelligence watchers catch on.
As to the method of smuggling, military sources assume the parts were brought into Gaza piecemeal in small sections carried in the luggage of Palestinian officials flying to and from Beirut through Cairo international airport. The Hamas delegation which visited Beirut and Tehran last month and signed military cooperation pacts with Hizballah will not have missed the chance of importing large UAV segments into the Gaza Strip on their return home.
In their talks with Nasrallah, Hamas leaders agreed to take active part in the Shiite terrorists’ covert operations inside Israel, as well as open hostilities by Iran, Hizballah or Syria against the Jewish State. That consent would have covered the launching of unmanned aerial vehicles from the Gaza Strip.