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Mon, Nov 08, 2004

Middle East Terror Group Flies UAV Over Israel

A Whole New Kind Of Threat

Israel has long been considered an innovator in UAV technology. So imagine Jerusalem's surprise when the Israel Defense Force spotted a UAV flying over northern Israel -- and realized it wasn't theirs.

In fact, the unmanned aircraft was launched by Hezbollah guerrillas based in northern Lebanon. Dubbed "Mirsad 1" (Mirsad means "ambush"), the UAV apparently penetrated as far south as Nahariya Sunday night and was recovered by Hezbollah back in Lebanon.

Israeli officials warned that the UAV was actually built by Hezbollah's Iranian backers, with help from Syria.

"This qualitative and new achievement by the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon comes as part of a natural response to the Zionist enemy's repeated and permanent violations of Lebanese airspace," said a statement attributed to Hezbollah. "Starting today, we will send our planes as we please."

At least one witness told Israel Radio that he saw the drone.

"It looked like a small remote-controlled plane with a relatively small wingspan. I heard the plane's engine. It flew at an altitude of about 80 meters over our house in a southerly direction," said Eli Paz, who lives in Shlomi.

Of course, with the advent of UAVs comes the possibility that guerrillas sympathetic to the Palestinian cause might develop UCAVs -- unmanned combat aerial vehicles.

"Theoretically they could do this," said Eitan Ben-Eliahu, a former IAF commander. "But it is very complicated to prepare and operate it and then dispatch it to the correct target. So best not to scare the public with this fantasy," he told Israel Radio. Still, Israelis from now on will be closely watching the skies for little planes that go buzz in the night.

Official Israel Defense Forces Statement

This morning an Iranian UAV (unmanned air vehicle) operated by the Hezbollah terror organization infiltrated into Israel over the western Galilee.

This incident is a part of the terrorist activity carried out by the Hezbollah terrorist organization with the support of Iran and Syria and under the auspices of Lebanon, with the aim of targeting Israeli citizens.

This is further evidence of the lack of control of the Lebanese government of activities carried out from within its territory, something which may cause harm to Lebanon and its citizens.

The State of Israel views gravely any infiltration into its sovereign territory from the air, sea or by land, and will act to ensure the security of its citizens.

FMI: http://www1.idf.il/DOVER/site/mainpage.asp?sl=EN&id=7&clr=1&docid=35065.EN

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