Did Israel Just Shoot Down an Iranian Drone?

hat’s not the official word — yet — but at least one Israeli government official seems pretty excited to point the finger. Says parliament member Miri Regev: “[It was an] Iranian drone launched by Hezbollah.”

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Oct 6 2012, 1:18pm

That’s not the official word — yet — but at least one Israeli government official seems pretty excited to point the finger. Says parliament member Miri Regev: “[It was an] Iranian drone launched by Hezbollah.” Which is maybe not all that unlikely — Hezbollah’s been caught before sending drones into Israeli airspace, with the earliest dating to 2004.

There’s not much more to the story at this point. Israeli fighters shadowed the drone as it flew over the country — waiting far too long, according to at least one member of the Israeli legislature — until it was over an unpopulated area, and pulled the trigger. The Israel Defense Force is examining the wreckage now, while a statement from Israel defense minister Ehud Barak hints somewhat ominously at a forthcoming Israeli response: “We view this incident of attempting to enter Israeli airspace very severely and we will consider our response later.”

The IDF was kind enough to release a video of the shoot-down:

The IDF and Israel are, of course, the grand high masters of drone use and technology — Israel is the leading exporter of drones worldwide and uses UAVs to police the Gaza Strip to disastrous effect. A 2009 report from Human Rights Watch documented the killings of 87 Palestinian civilians at the hands of drone-launched missiles over a two month period from Dec. 2008 to Jan. 2009, while a report last year from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights claims that Israel has killed 825 civilians in Gaza since 2006 with drones. In fact, Israel is one of only three countries in the world to have launched drone attacks at all (with the other two being the US and UK).

Meanwhile, a report from earlier this year accused Israel of spying on a military installation in Turkey. Somewhat interestingly, Turkey has purchased the same variety of drones from Israel that Israel is accused of using to spy on Turkey. One wonders where today’s shot-down drone was made.

“Just saying.”