Israel’s defensee minister accused Iran on Sunday of providing foreign militias with drone training at an airbase near the city of Isfahan, a month after Tehran came under global scrutiny over a suspected drone attack on an Israeli-managed tanker off Oman.
In what his office described as a new disclosure, Benny Gantz said Iran was using Kashan airbase north of Isfahan to train “terror operatives from Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon in flying Iranian-made UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles)”.
Iran was also trying to “transfer know-how that would allow the manufacturing of UAVs in the Gaza Strip,” on Israel’s southern border, Gantz told a conference at Reichman University near Tel Aviv.
His office provided what it said were satellite images showing UAVs on the runways at Kashan. There was no immediate comment from Iran, Reuters reported.
A 29 July blast aboard the Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned petroleum product tanker near the mouth of the Gulf, a key oil shipping route, killed two crew – a Briton and a Romanian.
The vessel is operated and managed by London-based Zodiac Maritime, which is owned by Israeli magnate Eyal Ofer’s Ofer Global group.
The US military said explosives experts from the Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier – which deployed to assist the Mercer Street – concluded the explosion was from a drone produced in Iran, which was accused by other world powers in the attack. Iran has denied involvement.
Last month, paramilitary commanders, Iraqi army officers and observers told Middle East Eye that at least three Iraqi armed factions have the necessary technical and weapons’ capabilities to launch massive and brutal attacks using drones.
On 26 June, the Popular Mobilisation Authority (PMA) – a governmental umbrella group for paramilitaries – held a military parade at Camp Ashraf in Diyala Province, 70km northeast of Baghdad.
The display included most of the weapons and forces at the PMA’s disposal, including a number of drones that the PMA later tried to deny were part of the parade.
Source: Middle East Eye