Warily eyeing Kyiv strike, Israel said to fear it will be next target of Iran drones

Security establishment reportedly believes kamikaze drones used by Russia against Ukraine will be launched on northern border by Hezbollah, other Iran proxies

A Shahed-136 drone is seen in the sky seconds before it hit buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine, October 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
A Shahed-136 drone is seen in the sky seconds before it hit buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine, October 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Jerusalem has reportedly been closely monitoring Russia’s deadly launch of Iranian-made suicide drones at the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, fearing that similar weapons will be directed at Israel in future wars on its northern border.

The security establishment believes similar drones will be deployed against Israel by Lebanon’s Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies, the Kan public broadcaster reported Monday evening without citing any sources.

The network said the fear regarding Iran’s drone-making capabilities is what led Israel to bulk up its air defenses in the north with systems like Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow missiles.

The concern has also led to enhanced cooperation on the matter between Israel, the US and Abraham Accords signatories UAE and Bahrain, the public broadcaster said.

Israel and the US were the only two countries until recently who gained operational experience in dealing with Iranian drones given their employment in attacks targeting Israeli and American forces in the Middle East.

Last week, The New York Times reported that Israel is providing Ukraine with “basic intelligence” on Iranian suicide drones being deployed by the Russian army, citing a senior Ukrainian official.

Firefighters work after a drone attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, Oct. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

The report also said that a private Israeli security firm has been giving the Ukrainians satellite imagery of Russian military positions.

In September, Russia began using the Iranian-made Shahed-136 drone, after it reportedly received deliveries of hundreds of units from Tehran, despite Washington warning the Iranians against exporting the weapon.

An Iranian Shahed-136 drone is launched during a military exercise in Iran, December 2021. (Screenshot: Twitter)

President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly asked Israel to provide air defense systems, listing the Jewish state as one of five countries possessing the technology to help the Ukrainians against aerial attack during a September CNN interview.

But Jerusalem has resisted providing Kyiv with significant defensive or offensive weaponry, as it tries to protect its sensitive relationship with Moscow.

Monday’s drone attack on Kyiv killed four people and led Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to call for EU sanctions on Iran.

Last week, Zelensky said Iranian drones were also used in Russian attacks on energy infrastructure in several Ukrainian cities.

On Sunday, The Washington Post reported that Tehran is preparing its first delivery of short-range ballistic missiles to Moscow during the war.

Local residents run away after a drone attack in Kyiv on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian war on Ukraine. (Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP)

According to US Deputy Director of National Intelligence Morgan Muir, Russia has lost more than 6,000 pieces of equipment since the beginning of the war. Amid the pressure applied by Western sanctions, Moscow has turned to pariah states such as North Korea and Iran for military supplies.

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