The IDF shot down a Hezbollah-piloted drone over the northern Negev desert earlier this month after it possibly captured images of secret Israeli military sites. Earlier, Tel Aviv praised the IDF for its rapid response to the security breach.
The drone was launched from Lebanon and crossed into Israeli airspace on October 6, and stayed airborne for three hours before being intercepted, the Sunday Times reported.
Sources in the region claimed that the unmanned aircraft traveled more than 300 kilometers, and transmitted pictures of preparations for Israel’s joint military exercise with the US, the newspaper said. The aircraft also reportedly spotted ballistic missiles, airfields and likely the nuclear reactor in Dimona.
The British newspaper said that the first missile an Israeli F-16 fighter jet shot at the done missed its target. After the incident, Israeli leadership praised the country’s air forces for their "sharp and effective" response to the violation of the country’s airspace.
The drone is the new Iranian Shahed-129, operated by Iranian Revolutionary Guard technicians with the help of the Hezbollah, the report said.
Earlier, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah took credit for the aerial infiltration, saying that the aircraft was designed by Iran and assembled in Lebanon.
He said the drone was deployed in response to what he called Israel’s repeated violations of Lebanese airspace since 2006. He identified the Dimona reactor as the mission's main target.
"This flight was not our first will not be our last, and we give assurances we can reach any point we want. We have the right to dispatch recon planes over occupied Palestine at any time," Nasrallah said.