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Israeli Minister Says Iran Giving Militias Drone Training Near Isfahan

Israeli Minister Says Iran Giving Militias Drone Training Near Isfahan

Sunday, 12 September, 2021 - 09:00
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz. (AP file photo)

Israel’s defense minister accused Iran on Sunday of providing foreign militias with drone training at an airbase near the city of Isfahan, a month after Tehran came under global scrutiny over a suspected drone attack on an Israeli-managed tanker off Oman.


Israel has combined military strikes with diplomatic pressure to beat back what it describes as an effort by its arch-foe, whose nuclear negotiations with the West are deadlocked, to beef up regional clout through allied guerrillas.


In what his office described as a new disclosure, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Iran was using Kashan airbase north of Isfahan to train “terror operatives from Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon in flying Iranian-made UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles)”.


Iran was also trying to “transfer know-how that would allow the manufacturing of UAVs in the Gaza Strip,” on Israel’s southern border, Gantz told a conference at Reichman University near Tel Aviv.


His office provided what it said were satellite images showing UAVs on the runways at Kashan. There was no immediate comment from Iran.


A July 29 blast aboard the Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned petroleum product tanker managed by Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime, near the mouth of the Gulf, a key oil shipping route, killed two crew - a Briton and a Romanian.


The US military said explosives experts from the Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier - which deployed to assist the Mercer Street - concluded the explosion was from a drone produced in Iran, which was accused by other world powers in the attack.


Iran has denied involvement.


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