The drone Hezbollah recently sent into the Israeli airspace has photographed secret military bases inside the occupied territories, according to the UK newspaper Sunday Times.
“The drone, which was airborne for three hours before being intercepted by an F-16 jet, is believed to have transmitted pictures of preparations for Israel’s biggest joint military exercise with the US army, which began last week, as well as ballistic missile sites, main airfields and, possibly, its nuclear reactor in Dimona.”
The report also stated that the interception of the unmanned aerial vehicle was “botched” when the first missile fired by the Israeli warplane missed.
On October 11, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah confirmed the flight. Al-Manar TV broadcast footage simulating how the resistance movement sent the drone deep into the Zionist airspace, evading radar systems.
The operation, code-named Ayyoub (“Hussein Ayyoub”the ex-commander of Hezbollah air force who was martyred in 1996), saw Hezbollah’s drone fly hundreds of kilometers into the Israeli airspace and get very close to Dimona without being detected by advanced Israeli and US radars, Sayyed Nasrallah indicated.
Security analysts say the incident indicates that the Israeli military is incapable of handling a surprise attack despite the numerous military maneuvers regularly conducted by the regime.
Intelligence experts contend that the interloper should have been intercepted from the Mediterranean as it entered the skies of the Gaza Strip, before it was shot down over the Yatir Forest south of the city of al-Khalil.
The drone, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, served as a reminder of the complicated balance of deterrent power. That Hezbollah, backed by Iran, “looms as the most sophisticated antagonist vis-a-vis Israel in the region is not in dispute.”