Hezbollah drone downed by IDF mistakenly reveals operatives' pictures

Oops! The drone shot down by the IDF on Wednesday had a memory card installed, revealing the Hezbollah operatives' faces and vehicles.

 Hezbollah drone shot down by IDF, January 7, 2022 (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Hezbollah drone shot down by IDF, January 7, 2022
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

A Hezbollah drone downed by the Israeli military had a memory card with clear pictures of operatives belonging to one of the Lebanese terror group’s elite units.

The drone, shot down by the IDF on Wednesday after it infiltrated Israeli airspace, had images of its operators belonging to the elite Radwan unit that uses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to gather intelligence on Israeli troops.

The pictures were likely taken by mistake by the UAV, but they revealed their faces and vehicles – complete with license plates – as well as the operatives flying another drone that had also been downed a few months ago by the IDF.

According to a recent report by the ALMA Research Center, Hezbollah has some 2,000 UAVs, many of them advanced ones from Iran, and others manufactured independently by the Lebanese terror group. Others used by Hezbollah are civilian drones, similar to the one downed on Wednesday.

The group was said to have 200 Iranian-made UAVs in 2013 and, with the help from the Islamic Republic, it has significantly increased its fleet, some of which is set to be used for kamikaze attacks on strategic national assets in Israel as well as in reconnaissance against IDF troops and bases.

 IDF combat soldiers are seen operating a drone (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) IDF combat soldiers are seen operating a drone (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Over the past year, Hezbollah violated Israeli airspace by sending 74 drones into Israel, a decrease from the 94 sent in 2020, but an increase from the 54 UAVs flown over the border in 2019.

On Wednesday after the drone was intercepted, the IDF spokesperson’s unit tweeted that “the IDF will continue to operate against any attempt by terrorists to violate Israeli sovereignty.”

Israel also flies drones into Lebanon, and Hezbollah has shot down some of them, most recently in September when the terror group said it had shot one down near the village of Yatir in south Lebanon.

Beirut regularly complains about Israeli surveillance drones invading its airspace, but the IDF maintains that such operations are necessary to track Hezbollah’s hostile activities.

Troops from the Combat Intelligence Collection Corps’ 869th “Shachaf” unit fly small, off-the-shelf civilian DJI drones and others that are used for reconnaissance missions.  

Costing several thousand shekels each, these once expensive tools are now extremely affordable for the military, which operates thousands of drones along its borders. DJI (Da-Jiang Innovations) is a Chinese technology company that makes drones worldwide.

While drones sometimes crash in enemy territory, the IDF says that there is no risk of secret technology or classified intelligence being revealed.

Israel and Lebanon are officially still at war. Although the border is relatively quiet, there have been six instances of rocket fire since May.