IDF downs 2 drones targeting Eilat in attack claimed by Iran-backed Iraqi militia

Military says fighter jet and ground-based air defense systems intercepted the projectiles, days after Islamic Resistance in Iraq launched drones at the southern city and the north

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Footage posted to social media shows an interceptor missile downing a suspected drone near Eilat on May 27, 2024. (Social media/X. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Two explosive-laden drones heading toward Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat from the eastern direction — apparently originating in Iraq — were downed by air defenses, the military said.

According to the IDF, the two drones were intercepted by a fighter jet and ground-based air defense systems.

Both projectiles did not enter Israeli airspace, it added.

Video footage shared on social media showed an interceptor missile downing a suspected drone, resulting in an explosion.

The attack, which set off air raid sirens in Eilat, was claimed by the Iran-backed Islamic Resistance in Iraq.

In a statement, the militia claimed it launched three drones at IDF positions in Eilat in an attack it said was in support of Palestinians in Gaza. It also released a video purporting to show the launch of the drones used in the strike.

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq — a loose formation of armed groups affiliated with the Popular Mobilization Forces, itself a coalition of former paramilitary forces integrated into Iraq’s regular armed forces — has claimed dozens of drone attacks on Israel amid the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, with the IDF reporting downing many of them. Many of the militia’s claims have been exaggerated, but in one case it managed to hit an Israeli Navy base in Eilat, causing damage.

Last week, it took credit for drone attacks that it said targeted Eilat and Haifa, all of which were thwarted, though part on an interceptor missile impacted in the northern city of Safed, sparking a fire. The IDF said it was investigating the incident, in which no one was injured.

Along with the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, Iran-backed groups in Yemen and Syria have claimed to have launched dozens of drones at Israel during the ongoing war sparked by Hamas’s devastating October 7 terror onslaught, while Lebanon’s Hezbollah has attacked communities and IDF positions in northern Israel on a near-daily basis. Iran itself also carried out an unprecedented attack on Israel last month with hundreds of drones and missiles.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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