Israeli minister says Iran giving militias drone training

Liberian-flagged oil tanker Mercer Street, which came under attack off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea.Israel and US said the explosion was from a drone produced in Iran. — AP file
Liberian-flagged oil tanker Mercer Street, which came under attack off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea.Israel and US said the explosion was from a drone produced in Iran. — AP file

Herzliya - Defence Minister Benny Gantz says Iran is using Kashan airbase to train “terror operatives from Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon



By Reuters

Published: Sun 12 Sep 2021, 10:51 PM

Israel’s defence 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.

Israel has combined military strikes with diplomatic pressure to beat back what it describes as an effort by its arch-foe, whose nuclear negotiations with the West are deadlocked, to beef up regional clout through allied guerrillas.

In what his office described as a new disclosure, Defence Minister 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.

A July 29 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, 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.


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