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August 10, 2016 6:32 am

Hezbollah Uses Attack Drone, as Offensive Capabilities Grow

avatar by Steven Emerson

Email a copy of "Hezbollah Uses Attack Drone, as Offensive Capabilities Grow" to a friend
A Hezbollah fighter preparing a rocket. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A Hezbollah fighter preparing a rocket. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A new video reportedly shows Hezbollah conducting drone airstrikes targeting radical Sunni Islamist positions in southern Aleppo.

Though it appears that Hezbollah failed to inflict significant damage, the bombings illustrate the terrorist organization’s growing capabilities and ability to utilize sophisticate technologies for offensive operations.

This is not the first time that Hezbollah has reportedly used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to conduct an attack.

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In 2014, the terrorist organization deployed an attack drone to kill at least 23 fighters from the Al Qaeda linked group formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra.

Before then, Hezbollah repeatedly deployed UAVs over Israeli airspace, primarily for reconnaissance and testing air defense systems. In one case, a Hezbollah drone allegedly transmitted images of Israel’s nuclear energy facility — Dimona — to its state sponsor, Iran.

The latest UAV development underscores the threat Hezbollah poses in a future conflict with Israel. While the group is suffering battlefield losses, it is gaining invaluable experience and learning from Russia’s top-tier military. The group is also exploiting the chaos in Syria to facilitate the transfer of advanced and sophisticated weaponry from Iran, including anti-aircraft systems that would inhibit Israel’s freedom of navigation over Lebanese and Syrian airspace.

Hezbollah has also used advanced Iranian-made anti-tank missiles in Syria. Though it is bogged down in Syria’s civil war, the terrorist organization continues to invest heavily for the next confrontation with Israel. This includes militarizing many Shiite neighborhoods in southern Lebanon and consolidating a base of operations against Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

Access to advanced weaponry and training has increased Hezbollah’s confidence for a future battle. The group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, bragged about Hezbollah’s ability to kill tens of thousands of Israelis with Iranian-supplied precision-guided missiles, threatening to target “ammonia tanks” that hold more than 15,000 tons of gas in Haifa.

Steven Emerson is the Executive Director the Investigative Project on Terrorism (www.investigativeproject.org) where this article first appeared.

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