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Israel says it shot down armed Iranian drone on its border

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showing a piece of Iranian drone to media and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. (Office of the Prime Minister of Israel/Released)
May 20, 2021

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Israeli forces shot down an armed drone belonging to Iran.

“While we were engaged in these hostilities, a few days ago, Iran sent an armed drone to Israel from Iraq or from Syria,” Netanyahu told German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. “Iranian forces launched a drone — armed drone — which our forces intercepted on the border between Israel and Jordan.”

“I think says everything on the true patron of terror in the Middle East and in the world, Iran,” Netanyahu continued.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) shot down the drone on Tuesday as it approached Israel from Jordan. IDF collected the wreckage of the drone for analysis.

“The true backer of much of this aggression is Iran,” Netanyahu said. “Iran not only supports completely the Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and gives them all the financing. They also give weapons to Hamas, as well as to Hezbollah. And they provide the scaffolding on which these organizations really work.”

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force commander Esmail Ghaani called Hamas’ Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades commander Mohammed Dief last week to declare the Iranian military’s support to the Hamas terror group. Ghaani also described Hamas’ fight with Israel as a fight of Muslims worldwide.

Ghaani also vowed to help Hamas enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque – a sacred site in Jerusalem.

“We will soon enter Al-Aqsa Mosque with dignity and might to pray there,” Ghaani said, according to Iranian news outlet Mehr News. “We will not stop helping you until the fall of the usurping regime, regardless of the threats and dangers,”

Iran has been a longstanding supporter of Hamas. Last year, then-Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani had sent Deif a letter, saying Iran “will not leave Palestine and Palestinian people alone,” according to Mehr News.

“Defending Palestine is an honor for the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iran will not renounce and give up its duty for the benefit of the world. Palestinians are our friends and enemies of Palestine are our enemies and this is and will be our policy,” Soleimani also wrote at the time.

After 11 steady days of being hit with Hamas rockets and firing counterstrikes at Hamas targets in Gaza, Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire late Thursday beginning at 2 a.m. local time on Friday.