Leaders of Lebanese-based group Hezbollah officially claimed Thursday that the group is responsible for launching the previously unidentified drone that flew over Israel Saturday morning and was subsequently shot down by an Israeli fighter jet, prompting international intrigue over the source of the aircraft.
Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the group, made the announcement on television Thursday, saying the unarmed surveillance drone was able to fly hundreds of kilometers over Israel before it was shot down.
Nasrallah said the drone was able to capture video of sensitive Israeli facilities including the Dimona nuclear facility where it was shot down.
The group also claimed that they could put more drones in the air, including armed drones, and that it was the group's "natural right" to do so.
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Drone technology has become increasingly accessible for smaller countries with lesser funds than countries such as the US and Israel.
Ted Harshberger, director of Project Air Force at the RAND Corporation thinktank wrote today that developing certain drone technologies is becoming "extremely easy" for most countries and that "practically any country that aspires to an indigenous aviation industry (as most countries do, even if only for national pride) has a reasonably capable, medium-altitude unmanned drone system in development or flying already."
He added that "intrusions" such as Hezbollah's drone in Israel, "are likely to become more common in the coming years, and not just in Israel. Other key allies and even U.S. bases or territory are likely to experience similar events sooner rather than later."
Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes recently defended the development of the US drone program in a Frontline interview saying, "It's a better way to keep us safe."
"It's frankly better for the United States in terms of our own security," he argued in an attempt to justify America's use of drones in the Middle East.