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Iran’s Revolutionary Guard unveils ‘Gaza’ drone in tribute to Palestinians

UAV named as ‘an eternal honor’ for those who ‘stand against the Zionists’ invasion and aggression’; new radar system also unveiled, an upgrade of version that shot down US drone

Illustrative: Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Gen. Hossein Salami, left, and the Guard's aerospace division commander Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh talk while unveiling a new drone called 'Gaza,' in an undisclosed location in Iran, in a photo released on May 22, 2021. (Sepahnews of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, via AP)
Illustrative: Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Gen. Hossein Salami, left, and the Guard's aerospace division commander Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh talk while unveiling a new drone called 'Gaza,' in an undisclosed location in Iran, in a photo released on May 22, 2021. (Sepahnews of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, via AP)

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Friday unveiled a new combat drone dubbed “Gaza” in a tribute to Palestinians, the force’s official website reported, hours after a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian terror groups took effect.

The drone was named as “an eternal honor for those who today in (Gaza) stand against the Zionists’ invasion and aggression,” Guards commander Major General Hossein Salami said at the unveiling event, quoted by Sepah News.

The drone is capable of carrying 13 bombs while flying at over 35,000 feet at a speed of almost 350 kilometers per hour (200 mph) for 20 hours, he added.

The unveiling came the same day a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas came into force after 11 days of deadly fighting.

Head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps Hossein Salami (L) leaves the stage after delivering a speech during a march to condemn the ongoing Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire, in the capital Tehran’s Palestine square, on May 19, 2021. (AFP)

Rockets fired into Israel from Gaza killed 12 people in the Jewish state, including one child, a teenager and an Israeli soldier, with one Indian and two Thais among those killed. Some 357 people in Israel were wounded.

Israeli air strikes have killed 243 people, including 66 children since May 10, Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry says. Israel says the majority of those killed were terrorists.

Iran does not recognize Israel, and supporting the Palestinian cause has been a pillar of its foreign policy since the country’s 1979 revolution.

Salami had on Wednesday hailed “the birth of a new Palestine… fighting with missiles” and said Israel was now “broken, frustrated and downcast.”

In this photo released on May 21, 2021, by Sepahnews, the website of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a new Gaza drone is displayed in an undisclosed location in Iran. (Sepahnews via AP)

The Guards’ Quds Force commander, Ismail Qaani, had earlier this week reaffirmed Tehran’s support for Palestinians against Israel in a phone call with Islamist faction officials.

According to Sepah News, Salami also unveiled a new radar system named “Quds” (Jerusalem) that can “detect stealth aircraft in a 500-kilometre (310-mile) radius and be quickly set up and moved.”

The website showed an upgraded version of an air defense system that in 2019 shot down a United States Global Hawk drone over the Strait of Hormuz after it allegedly violated Iran’s airspace.

The new version can fire “advanced short-range missiles and combat close threats such as cruise (missiles), drones, helicopters and bombs released by aircraft,” Salami said.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a drone downed by the Israel Defense Forces earlier this week was launched by Iran and was armed with explosives.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, shows visiting German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas fragments of a drone that Israel says was launched by Iran toward northern Israel, which was brought down by the Israeli military, on May 20, 2021. (Kobi Gideon/Government Press Office)

According to the premier, the drone was made by Iran and launched by Iranian forces toward Israel from either Syria or Iraq.

It would be the second time Iran has sent armed UAVs into Israel. In a similar case in 2018, a drone was flown from Syria into northern Israel before it was shot down by an Israeli helicopter. In response, the IDF launched a wave of strikes on Iranian assets in Syria.

Netanyahu accused Iran of providing support and technical assistance to terror groups throughout the Middle East, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which receives most of its funding from Tehran, as well as Hamas, which also gets weapons and other help from the Islamic Republic.

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