Israel doubts Iran has drone data: defence official
TEL AVIV - Agence France-Presse
A photograph dated 14 October 2012 and supplied by the Israeli Aerospace Industries on 16 October 2012 shows a new Israeli military drone, or UAV called the Heron UAS during a flight at an unspecified date. EPA PhotoA senior officer in Israel's northern command on Monday dismissed an Iranian claim they were in possession of data transmitted by an unmanned Hezbollah drone that overflew Israel earlier this month.
"I don't think there was a camera," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity, although he admitted the incident was "still being investigated." Israel's air force on October 6 shot down the unarmed drone over the Negev desert after it entered the country's airspace from the Mediterranean Sea.
At the time, the Israeli military dismissed the idea the drone could have been launched from Gaza, and said it was examining the possibility it may have been sent by the Lebanese Shiite militia, Hezbollah.
Several days later, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said it was his movement which had sent the drone, saying the device was "Iranian built and assembled in Lebanon." "It overflew sensitive and important installations for dozens of kilometres until the enemy spotted it near (the nuclear site) Dimona," he said, without identifying the installations.
In an interview broadcast on Sunday night, Esmaeel Kosari, who chairs the defence commission at the Iranian parliament, claimed the drone had "transmitted live data, photographing sensitive Israeli bases." "The photos of restricted areas are in Iran's possession," he told Iran's Arabic-language Al-Alam television.
The Israeli officer said that to the best of his knowledge "there were no weapons on the drone." Even without gathering intelligence, the drone's flight was "a show of ability," he said, proving that "it could fly over Israel for a long time, which could develop into filming abilities." He also raised the possibility of future "suicide drones" which could carry explosives and be crashed into Israeli targets.