Israel says it downed 2 Iranian drones in other countries

The Israeli military said Monday that it used sophisticated F-35 stealth fighters to shoot down two Iranian drones in third countries a year ago, providing details about the incidents, which had been under military censorship.

A military official who briefed reporters on the March 2021 events declined to say where the drones were intercepted or whether those countries gave permission for the use of their airspace.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity according to regulations, said the drones were launched from Iran and were bound for Israel.

“The UAVs were intercepted in regional airspace in coordination with neighboring countries before they could enter Israeli skies,” the military said in a statement, using an acronym for unmanned aerial vehicles.

Israel says Iran and its allies in the region are actively developing and testing long-range drones that can transfer ammunition, collect intelligence and carry out attacks. It says the drones shot down last March were carrying handguns and explosives bound for the West Bank and Gaza.

Israel says it shot down a third Iranian drone launched from Iraq during the May 2021 Gaza war. It says that drone was shot down after it entered Israeli airspace. Iran supports a number of powerful Shiite militias inside Iraq.

Israel views Iran as its greatest threat and regularly carries out strikes on suspected Iranian military targets in neighboring Syria.

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