Hezbollah’s drone threat is now on display - analysis

The Lebanese terror orginization is increasingly showing that it can make drones and use them to harass Israel.

IDF gets ready for Hezbollah along the Israeli-Lebanese border (photo credit: IDF)
IDF gets ready for Hezbollah along the Israeli-Lebanese border
(photo credit: IDF)

Iran’s Tasnim News has been celebrating the Hezbollah drone that entered Israeli airspace on Friday. It was actually one of many drone incidents in recent days. On Thursday the IDF downed a drone that flew into Israel from Lebanon. There was also an incident on the Gaza border.

However, the Friday incident appears more serious, coming days after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said his organization was producing more UAVs. This shows a rapidly emerging threat.

According to Tasnim, Hezbollah flew a drone it called “Hassan” into Israeli airspace, saying that, “during a 40-minute intelligence operation at a depth of 70 km. in occupied Palestine, despite the efforts of the Zionist enemy to destroy it, it safely returned to Lebanon.”

Iran’s media reported Israeli media reports of the drone incident as if to show off Hezbollah’s success.

According to the IDF, on Friday, “a radio-controlled aircraft crossed into Israeli territory from Lebanon and was tracked by the Israeli Air Force. A number of sirens were sounded in the area in accordance with standard protocol.

 A drone is seen during an Iranian Army exercise dubbed 'Zulfiqar 1400', in the coastal area of the Gulf of Oman, Iran, in this picture obtained on November 7, 2021 (credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA/REUTERS) A drone is seen during an Iranian Army exercise dubbed 'Zulfiqar 1400', in the coastal area of the Gulf of Oman, Iran, in this picture obtained on November 7, 2021 (credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA/REUTERS)

“The IDF’s aerial defense systems identified and tracked the threat, along with helicopters and fighter jets that were dispatched. The Iron Dome Aerial Defense System acted to intercept the aircraft. After a few minutes, the radio-controlled aircraft returned to Lebanon.”

Iran’s media says this drone incident was a success by Hezbollah because it returned safely to Lebanon and was not intercepted and also because it caused sirens to sound in northern Israel.

“Israeli air defense systems tried to shoot down the drone,” the Iranian media said. “Even the Iron Dome fired a ‘Tamir’ missile, but the Hezbollah drone managed to return to Lebanon and land safely. The Israeli Air Force prepared Apache warplanes and helicopters to shoot down the drone, but failed.”

Iran’s media now reports on how Israeli media is depicting this incident. “In any future war, how will the Israeli air force deal with 3,000 missiles and rockets when it has not been able to intercept a UAV?” the report asks.

The drone incidents come days after Nasrallah bragged that Hezbollah has been producing drones for years. He also indicated Hezbollah might export this technology.

In 2019, Hezbollah members were involved in moving drones to an area near the Golan. That team was subsequently killed in an airstrike.

Iran also targeted Israel with drones in February 2018 and in May 2021, using ones flown from Syria and Iraq. The ALMA Research Center has reported that the terrorist group had some 2,000 drones in December.

Hezbollah has several types of drones and it has been using them for years. Questions remain about what type of drone the Hassan was, but the overall issue is that Hezbollah is increasingly showing it can make drones and use them to harass Israel, potentially using them to test defenses for a future conflict.

That Hezbollah bragged about this ability just days before the incident shows how it telegraphs its moves.