“Iran attempted to transfer explosives from Syria to terrorists based in Judea and Samaria using an unmanned aircraft,” revealed Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, while also exposing 2 major bases in the Chabahar region and Qeshm Island to launch Shahed-type UAV attacks on maritime targets from the southern sector of the Islamic Republic.
By Erin Viner
During a speech addressing the international community at the Security and Policy Conference held at Reichman University, Minister Gantz discussed Iran’s operational tactics as well as its aspiration to become a hegemon capable of imposing its radical ideology.
Jerusalem’s top defense official underscored the growing threat posed by Tehran’s frequent use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) against its regional enemies, most often against Saudi Arabia and Western forces in Iraq.
In addition to attacks or reconnaissance missions, Gantz said that Iran is also using UAVs to transfer weapons to its proxies for the execution of terror attacks.
The first such incident of this, he said occurred in February 2018, when the IDF intercepted “a Shahed m141 type UAV” loaded with “TNT explosives” near the northern Israeli city of Beit She’an that had been launched by Iranian proxy militias at Syria’s T4 Air Force base en route to “terror elements in Judea and Samaria” (West Bank).
Moreover, Defense Minister Gantz charged that “Iran is also operating outside the region, transferring oil and weapons to Venezuela, operating its Quds Forces in South America and trying to infiltrate its influence into Afghanistan. Iranian terrorism is exported under the directive of [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei and the regime’s top leaders. One of their key tools is UAVs – a precise weapon that can reach strategic targets within thousands of kilometers. As such, this capability is already endangering Sunni countries, international forces in the Middle East and countries in Europe and Africa.”
Stressing threats posed not only to Israel but on a global scale, Gantz said that methodology of the Ayatollah Regime is “to take over unstable countries like Yemen, which ranks last in the ‘fragile countries” index, similarly to Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Their plan is clear – ‘first we take Damascus, then we take Berlin.’”
The Israeli Defense leader called on the international community to “add a ‘Plan B’” military response to diplomatic efforts to resolve malign Iranian behavior. He thanked the United States for its continued imposition of “sanctions” and other recent “actions” used “to reach our common goal,” in apparent reference to the prevention of Iranian development of nuclear weapons.
“We will continue to work in full cooperation with our American friends and with additional countries,” he said, explaining that while “there is no doubt that a diplomatic solution is preferable” that alongside it, “the use of force should be on the table – since it is the continuation of diplomacy by other means. Sometimes the use and demonstration of force can prevent the need for an even stronger use of force.”