Israeli Security Says Downed Drones Show Hizbullah Surveillance
Israeli security sources claimed Friday that drones captured after being flown across the frontier from neighboring Lebanon have provided insight into the growing aerial surveillance capabilities of Hizbullah.
Drones have become a regular feature of heavily guarded border between Lebanon and Israel
Images extracted from one drone downed in August -- shown to AFP -- showed what the source said was Hizbullah drone operators and pictures of other drones, as well as an aerial shot of a northern Israeli settlement and military post.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he believed the footage showed Hizbullah special forces training in how to use drones, which he said was the first such glimpse for Israel.
A second source said that five drones seized last year -- including a small observation drone downed on Tuesday -- belonged to Hizbullah.
"We are learning about the enemy and the enemy is learning about us," said the second source, also speaking on condition of anonymity. "It is kind of a learning race between Hizbullah and us."
Israel is a leader in developing and using drones in warfare, but it is seeing its technological superiority challenged by arch-foe Iran, which is also developing unmanned aerial vehicles for military use.
The drones used by Hizbullah were not necessarily Iranian made, but rather ordinary commercially available devices, the second source said.
"It is so easy to just take a drone from the store and gather intelligence and do whatever you imagine," he said.
In September, Hizbullah said it had shot down an Israeli drone over Lebanon.
The first security source said the dire economic crisis in Lebanon did not appear to have lessened Hizbullah's drone program.