Iran has images of sensitive Israeli military bases taken by a drone that was launched by Lebanon's Hezbollah movement and downed by Israel earlier this month, a senior Iranian lawmaker claimed yesterday.
It was the latest boast from Tehran about purported advances in the capabilities of its unmanned aircraft. The announcement gave no details about the photos – other than calling the Israeli bases "forbidden sites" – but it suggested Iranian drones have the ability to transmit data while in flight. It also appeared to be a warning to Israel about the options for retaliation for any possible strikes on Iranian nuclear sites.
Ismaeil Kowsari, a prominent lawmaker, was also quoted as saying that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah possesses more sophisticated Iranian-made drones than the one that was downed, including some that could carry weapons. There was no immediate comment from Israeli officials.
"These drones transmit the pictures online," Mr Kowsari told the semiofficial Mehr news agency. "The pictures of forbidden sites taken and transmitted by this drone are now in our possession."
Mr Kowsari, pictured, a former commander of the powerful Revolutionary Guard who heads the parliament's defence committee, said Hezbollah is "definitely" equipped with more sophisticated drones, but gave no further details. Hezbollah "won't announce it as long as it doesn't see the need to do so... That's why we say we will respond to Israel inside [its] territory, should it take any action against us," he said.
Iran has claimed that Iranian-made surveillance drones have made dozens of apparently undetected flights into Israeli airspace from Lebanon. Israel has rejected the account.