In recent days Iran has been accused of being behind increased attacks in the West Bank.
The Iranian regime has been relatively quiet on direct threats to Israel at the same time. This includes the fact that Iranian media did not heavily report on airstrikes that occurred in Syria this week. However, the Iranian pro-regime media that is linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) did focus on several issues that are likely of importance to Tehran.
Iranian pro-regime media Tasnim has claimed that “the Zionist regime is worried about increasing capability of resistance drones in Gaza.”
The term “resistance” is used by Iran to describe Hamas and other parts of Iran’s proxy network which it calls the “axis of resistance.” The report notes that the Iron Dome air defense system was activated two days in a row to shoot down UAVs flying over Gaza.
“An unidentified aircraft was spotted flying over the Gaza Strip toward Israeli territory. The aircraft did not cross into Israeli territory and from the moment it took off, IAF systems monitored the UAV throughout the incident.”IDF Spokesperson
These incidents occurred on Sunday and Monday. On Sunday, the IDF said that “the Iron Dome Aerial Defense System successfully intercepted the UAV. The UAV did not pose a threat to residents of southern Israel, and no alerts were activated according to protocol.”
On Monday, the IDF said that “an unidentified aircraft was spotted flying over the Gaza Strip toward Israeli territory. The aircraft did not cross into Israeli territory and from the moment it took off, IAF systems monitored the UAV throughout the incident.”
Iran’s regime appears interested in those two incidents and has elaborated on the reports through its own state-influenced media, portraying these incidents as escalations. It appears to be sending a message that Israel is concerned. It is not clear what evidence it bases this on, but it could be trying to signal to Hamas that they are successfully threatening Israel with the UAVs.
Hamas has several types of drones it has used in the past. Some of them are similar to commercially available quadcopters and some are catapult-launched UAVs that borrow from the experiences that Iranian proxies in Yemen and other places have learned. Iran has even named one of its own large drones Gaza as if to showcase how important the “resistance” in Gaza is.
It appears that the West Bank is also in Iran's crosshairs. Israel’s Prime Minister and Defense Minister have accused Iran of having a role in increased attacks in the West Bank such as the murder of an Israeli near Hebron this week. Iranian pro-regime media focuses on another aspect of this, claiming that Israeli forces are tied down in the West Bank. Iran’s Tasnim claims to have learned this from Israeli media. However, this is the usual Iranian method of laundering press reports to increase its own claims.
Iran will sometimes conduct an operation, such as harassing US ships in the Gulf, and then broadcast images and then show that foreign media published the images as “evidence” of Iran’s success, when in fact the whole story is concocted by Tehran to peddle and launder its supposed “victory.” Nevertheless, the stories in the Iranian media illustrate how Iran’s eyes are focused on certain areas, such as threatening the US in the Gulf and threatening Israel from Gaza and the West Bank.
Do orders for Hamas come from Tehran?
A third article at Tasnim is linked to this trend. It highlights the fact that the Iron Dome was activated twice to deal with drones over Gaza. Iran is clearly focusing on this issue. In the past, Iran has sought to highlight how Hamas has used large salvoes of rockets, such as in the May 2021 conflict. Iran’s regime media has asserted in the past that Hamas used these salvoes to try to overwhelm the Iron Dome system. The claims about drones appears linked to that trend.