Skip to main content

Hezbollah claims it sent drone over Israel, but expert calls it 'rinky-dink'

By Ashley Fantz, CNN
October 12, 2012 -- Updated 1306 GMT (2106 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hezbollah leader: We sent the drone into Israel, and Iran made it
  • Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah: The drone flew over "sensitive sites"
  • Expert: Hezbollah has been doing this for years; the drone has 'rinky-dink' technology

(CNN) -- The leader of the Shia militant movement Hezbollah in Lebanon said his group is responsible for launching a drone into Israel last week, and Iranians made the drone.

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said on the movement's television channel that the drone flew over "sensitive sites" in Israel.

"This drone is not Russian made, this drone was an Iranian made," he said. The drone "was assembled by the specialized Hezbollah team. The Lebanese should be proud of that."

Israel eyes Lebanon after drone downed

The Israeli air force shot down the unmanned device Saturday over the northern Negev desert, the Israeli Defense Forces said.

The drone, which was hovering over Gaza and had entered Israeli airspace, wasn't carrying weapons or explosives, military spokeswoman Avital Leibovich said.

Nasrallah boasted that it wasn't the first time Hezbollah has sent aerial drones over Israel. He said the group can do it "whenever we want" inside "occupied Palestine."

"This mission was not the first one," he said, "and will not be the last one, God willing."

Asked about Nasrallah's speech and his bold statement, a senior Israeli official who did not have permission to speak publicly on the subject said: "His statement is not worth commenting on."

Read more: Do drones mark new arms race?

Hezbollah has been flying drones over Israel for years, said Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations, who specializes in drone technology proliferation and the Middle East.

"That it happened again is absolutely insignificant," he said.

He described Nasrallah's comments as blustering and largely empty.

"Israel usually tracks these drones as they come across the border and often doesn't bother to shoot them down," Zenko said. "They just want to see what Hezbollah thinks it can do."

Drones like the one shot down on Saturday cannot even be piloted until someone has "line control" of the device, or is at least within 50 kilometers of it, he said.

"To call them rinky-dink would be polite," he said. "The drones that Iranians display at airshows or that they tout for sale, defense industry press people describe them as crude."

These drones don't have "hard points," or brackets, on which ammunition can be fixed, Zenko said, but they do have the ability to conduct surveillance. It's unclear if the Iranians have drones that can do surveillance in real time, he added.

Nasrallah said the goal of the drone was to "show ... capabilities or some of them at the right time, and send the messages at the right time."

Read more: The folly of drone attacks

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT