Israel Publishes Footage Of Unprecedented Drone Intercept From Iraq Over Its Territory

Iran-backed militias in Iraq are touting a claimed ‘successful’ drone attack on Israeli territory, which reportedly included strikes on three different Israeli army barracks in the last 24 hours. The Israeli barracks allegedly hit were identified as Elifelet, Yonatan, and Yarden, with the latter two being in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

In the last month Iraqi militias have said their drones have reached Haifa and the southern port city of Eilat. In the last 72 hours the so-called Islamic resistance of Iraq said it has hit Hatzerim Airbase, the Oil Port in the City of Ashkelon as well as other unknown targets, which they say included ballistic missiles.

There has been no initial confirmation by the Israeli government, and there’s been little reporting of these latest strikes in international press reports, however, a number of Iraqi militia social media channels have released statements on the strikes. 

Israel has confirmed that its territory was attacked out of Iraq earlier this month, with a prior IDF statement saying a drone slammed into a naval base in Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat on April 1st.

An IDF statement statement at the time said its anti-air systems identified a “suspicious aerial target” that breached Israeli airspace “from the east” before making impact “in the Eilat Bay area” on the Red Sea. While this wasn’t necessarily the first instance of Iraqi militant groups claiming to have fired on Eliat, it appeared to be the first time that direct impact was made on an Israeli navy base, but which resulted in no casualties.

As for this fresh Monday incident, only made public Tuesday, the IDF appeared to confirm the Iraqi militia statements, but didn’t name “Iraq” – while touting a successful intercept “from the east”, in a rare incident. Below is the footage of the unprecedented intercept:

“For the first time ever, an IDF Sa’ar 6-class corvette missile ship successfully intercepted a UAV that approached from the east and crossed into the area of the Gulf of Eilat,” wrote the IDF.

“IDF missile boats including Sa’ar 6-class corvettes have been positioned in the Red Sea and have both the defensive and offensive capabilities to engage with regional threats,” the statement continued.

The type of longer range and more sophisticated drones needed for such an operation out of Iraq were likely supplied by the Iranians, which is sure to increase tensions between longtime enemies Tehran and Tel Aviv. Israel has already long accused the Islamic Republic of funding and supporting both Hamas and Hezbollah. This has also been the case with Yemen’s Houthis.

The question remains whether more Iraqi militants will launch more drone attacks on Israeli soil, as to some extent this would open yet another ‘front’ in the war. Recent days have seen Israel’s military signal that operations in Gaza might be deescalating, given an entire division of Israeli troops were pulled out of southern Gaza over the weekend. But this also is likely a preparation for a bigger Rafah assault

Eliat port in southern Israel, file image.

Israel has said it now has a date for the launch of Rafah operations, but has not disclosed the day. The Biden administration has at the same time said it was not briefed on the date, and says it has no knowledge on when such an operation is expected to begin.

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