Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz revealed Tuesday that Iran had attempted to smuggle TNT to Palestinian militants in the West Bank using a drone.
The Shahed 141 unmanned aerial vehicle, launched from Syria’s T-4 airbase in February 2018, was shot down by an Apache helicopter 30 seconds after entering Israeli airspace. It was first thought to be a direct attack on Israel.
Gantz said that “Iran was using the drone for something we’ve never seen before: transferring weaponry to its proxies for use in terror attacks.”
“The UAV was launched by Iranian emissaries in Syria, carrying an explosive package of TNT, and its destination was terrorist operatives in Judea and Samaria and it was shot down by Israel near Beit She’an.”
Israel retaliated following the incident, carrying out airstrikes at several Iranian targets in Syria, including the airbase, reportedly destroying all the combat drones stationed there. Syrian air defenses downed an Israeli Air Force F-16, prompting Jerusalem to intensify the attack, leading to heightened tensions with Iran.
Iran’s Drone Bases
The defense minister accused Tehran of using its proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Iraq to launch attacks across the region, also alleging that the Persian Gulf state is using drone bases in Chabahar and Qeshem island to carry out maritime attacks.
“Just in the past week, 14 drone attacks have been conducted from Yemeni territory against Saudi Arabia, apparently including a strike on the King Abdulaziz Airport and Aramco petroleum facilities,” Gantz said.
“In Lebanon, which is experiencing a grave crisis and is in need of food and fuel, Iran is funding Hezbollah with upwards of $600 million a year, which is going primarily to the Shiite sect, and is therefore splitting the country apart along with its ability to govern.”