The quest for psychological ascendancy between Israel and its foes is in full flow as the Lebanese Hezbollah — a key ally of Iran — went to town on the announcement that it had flown a drone inside Israel for a long time, successfully breaching the famed Israeli radar cover.
In a statement read over Lebanon’s Al Manar television on Thursday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said: “The resistance in Lebanon sent an advanced surveillance drone from the Lebanese lands towards the sea. It drove it for hundreds of kilometres over the sea, then penetrated the enemy’s new measures, entered south Palestine, and flew over several significant locations, before being spotted by the Israeli air force.”
Sheikh Nasrallah said the eventual downing of the drone was an “expected issue”, but the real significance of the manoeuvre lay in the ability of the unmanned plane to fly “hundreds of kilometres in an area full of radars”.
The Hezbollah leader did not shy away from using the “I” word, acknowledging openly that the drone had been developed by Iran, but was put together by “Lebanese experts in the Islamic Resistance”.
Israel’s inability to quickly detect the presence of the drone, which was shot down 55 km inside Israeli territory, has led to a feverish debate about the real objectives of the drone mission. According to BBC, there is a theory that the surveillance drone — it was not armed with weapons — was on a mission to film Israel’s Dimona nuclear plant.
Iran’s ambition to film Dimona, and its possible possession of a repertoire of hi-technology to accomplish such a task, can work to Tehran’s psychological advantage against Israel — a country whose technological advancement has remained unrivalled in the region so far.
Sheikh Nasrallah played skilfully with words directed at his foes while alluding to scale of achievement and the element of surprise that the drone mission accomplished.
“We leave it for the Israelis to specify the potentials of this intelligence drone, especially that it was able from the first time to fly over the sea, and we all know what is there in the sea, and over the land, and we all know what is there on the land, and we reveal today a part of our ability; yet this does not diminish our level of surprise,” he observed.
The Hezbollah had flown drones during its 2006 war with Israel.
Referring to that war, when the group had successfully battled Israel, Sheikh Nasrallah warned: “This trip is not the first, and it will not be the last, and with these aircrafts we could reach many locations.”
The Hezbollah leader said it had been decided to name the drone “Ayoub” in honour and memory of Hussein Ayoub, who was one of the pioneers of the group in developing this technology.