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Israel dredges up details of Iranian drones ferrying arms to Gaza

KHAN YUNIS, GAZA - SEPTEMBER 07: Smoke and flames rise at the site after Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes, on September 07, 2021 in Khan Yunis, Gaza. Israeli warplanes launched airstrikes Monday evening on a site belonging to the Palestinian resistance in the southern Gaza Strip, according to eyewitnesses. The fighter jets targeted a site in Khan Yunis. ( Abedrahim Khatib - Anadolu Agency )
Smoke and flames rise at the site after Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes, on September 07, 2021 in Khan Yunis, Gaza [Abedrahim Khatib - Anadolu Agency]

In what appears to be an attempt to apply pressure on its Western allies, Israel has dredged up details of a military operation a year after it happened, claiming that it had intercepted Iranian drones carrying firearms and ammunition to the Gaza Strip.

Israeli military aircraft reportedly intercepted two Iranian drones en route to the besieged enclave in March last year, an official spokesperson for the occupation army said yesterday. "The interception of the UAVs was carried out prior to them entering Israeli airspace, in coordination with neighbouring countries. The UAVs were detected and tracked throughout their flight by ground control units."

There was no explanation for why details of the interception are only being released a full year after the incident took place, raising questions about the timing.

Apparently the drones, launched from Iranian territory and carrying firearms and ammunition, were an attempt to test whether military equipment could be smuggled to Gaza via drone, claimed Israeli officials. It was also a test, it was alleged, to determine whether more significant weapons could be transferred in such a way in future.

Read: Iran's Rouhani: delaying return to nuclear deal will harm P5 + 1 group

Israel has long claimed that the Islamic Republic is one of the major funders of what it calls "terrorist" groups, including the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas. It objected seriously to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plane of Action with Iran, arguing that the nuclear deal ignored Tehran's hostility towards the occupation state. Undermining Iran's power is thought to be a "moral imperative" for Israel.

The current Israeli Prime Minister Neftali Bennett has continued from where his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu left off in the ongoing attempts to derail the nuclear agreement between Iran and what is known as the P5+1 group of international powers. The latest indication is that the group is inching closer to a deal and approaching the signing of an agreement in Vienna.

Israeli commentators have also speculated that Bennett is likely to have raised the nuclear deal with Vladimir Putin during recent talks about the invasion of Ukraine, and has urged the Russian president to make the issue his number one priority.

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