IDF believes Iran seeks to arm its proxies in region with hundreds of UAVs

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

The Israeli military publishes fresh details on Tehran’s drone program, including new footage of it downing several Iranian aircraft.

Yesterday the Israel Defense Forces announced that its F-35 jets downed two Iranian drones ferrying firearms on March 15, 2021. The military believes the drones were heading to terror operatives in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, based on their flight path.

The IDF also publishes an image showing one of the aircraft was carrying several pistols, destined for terror groups.

In this handout image published by the Israel Defense Forces on March 7, 2022, the remains of an Iranian drone with a payload of firearms is seen on March 15, 2021. (IDF)

The military identifies those UAVs as Iranian “Shahed-197” models.

Military officials say Iran’s “UAV terror” is a new and global issue, charging Tehran with directly attacking both military and civilian targets in the Middle East.

The IDF believes Iran is attempting to arm its proxies in the region — in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen — with hundreds or even thousands of UAVs, in addition to military training.

While Israel has acknowledged it targets the bases of Iranian forces and allied terror groups in Syria, as well as arms shipments believed to be bound for Iran-backed groups in the region, The Times of Israel has learned several of those strikes specifically targeted sites related to Iran’s drone program.

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