JTA — Bipartisan legislation to increase cooperation between the United States and Israel to develop technology to counter “killer drones” was introduced Wednesday in the US House of Representatives.
The US-Israel Anti-Killer Drone Act would help fill gaps identified by the US Department of Defense, by authorizing cooperative projects intended to thwart small unmanned aerial systems that threaten the US and Israel, co-sponsor Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a New Jersey Democrat, said in a statement.
Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, an Ohio Republican, also sponsored the measure.
“As we’ve seen this week, with Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s barrage of rockets from Gaza towards innocent civilians in Israel, our ally continues to face a barrage of terrorist attacks,” Gottheimer said in the statement.
“This bipartisan legislation will authorize new projects to improve our ability to detect, jam, and disrupt unmanned aerial systems designed to hit a target, blow up on impact, and kill Americans and our allies. This bipartisan effort is vitally important to Israel’s security, our security, and America’s interests in the region. It’s key to our fight against terror,” he added.
Iran appears to have been building up its drone activities and attacks in recent months. In August, Israeli fighter jets carried out airstrikes in Syria to thwart a planned attack on Israel by Iran-backed fighters using armed drones, the Israel Defense Forces said. The Israeli military said its strike targeted operatives from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force as well as Shiite militias who had been planning on sending “kamikaze” attack drones into Israel armed with explosives.
In September, a cruise missile and drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities knocked out half the kingdom’s oil production. Although Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility, the US, Britain, France, Germany, and Saudi Arabia have accused Iran of being behind the attack.
Iran regularly threatens Israel, viewing the country as a powerful enemy allied with the United States and Sunni countries in the region against Tehran and its nuclear ambitions.
The legislation also cited other incidents such as one on September 19, 2017, when Israeli forces destroyed an Iran-supplied Hezbollah unmanned aerial system over Syria; and another in February 2018 when Iran launched an armed drone from Syria into Israeli airspace, which Israeli warplanes destroyed.