We recently reported on Israel’s attacks on Iranian bases in Syria at which drone attacks on Israel were being prepared, Israel hits Iranian bases in Syria to prevent large-scale drone attack.

The effort, according to Israel, was personally supervised by Iranian Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani. Two Hezbollah members who reportedly trained in Iran to operate the drones, were killed in the attack. Hezbollah has vowed to retaliate.

At the same time, as we reported, something curious took place in the Hezbollah stronghold of Dahiyeh in the southern suburbs of Beirut.

Two small-copter drones were downed, but not before at least one of them exploded. These were small drones that had limited range. Hezbollah claimed they were an attack by Israel aimed at Hezbollah’s media offices. While photos circulated showed damage to the media offices, no one believed Israel would bother to attack Hezbollah media offices, and not in the heart of Hezbollah’s stronghold. Any attack in Beirut would carry a risk of igniting a wider conflict.

So assuming these small drones were operated by Israel, what was worth the risk?

The Times of London claims to have the scoop: Israel blew up key and expensive Iranian machinery shipped from Iran to help Hezbollah convert its enormous unguided rocket arsenal into guided missiles.

The Jerusalem Post reported:

The two drones which crashed in the Lebanese capital of Beirut targeted crates with machinery to mix high-grade propellent for precision guided missiles, read a report by The Times.

According to intelligence sources quoted in the report, the Iranian-made mixer which was regarded as one of the key parts of precision missile technology was seriously damaged and the computerized control mechanism which was in a separate crate was totally destroyed in the blast.

According to Hezbollah the two drones which fell in the group’s stronghold neighborhood of Dahiya were both armed with 5.5 kilos of C4 explosives.

“After the Islamic Resistance’s specialized experts inspected and dismantled the first drone, it was clear that it was laden with a bomb which was professionally wrapped and isolated,” Hezbollah said in a statement.

“We confirm that it was not on a reconnaissance mission, and that its target was to carry out a suicide attack, exactly like the second drone,” the statement continued.


(Lebanese state media via Times of Israel)

Haaretz adds more detail:

The attack in Beirut early Sunday morning, which has been attributed to Israel, hit a central component of Hezbollah’s missile program. It damaged a planetary mixer — an industrial-sized mixer weighing about eight tons, needed to create propellants that can improve the engine performance of missiles and increase their accuracy. The machine was hit, as far as we know, shortly before Hezbollah planned to move it to a secured site.

The aerial strike in Beirut, which Nasrallah said was conducted by two explosive-laden drones sent by Israel, hit the mixer, which had been temporarily placed in a Hezbollah-controlled area of the city’s Shi’ite quarter Dahiyyeh. The mixer was damaged, but the main blow was to the machine’s control panel, which is separate from the mixer itself.

Replacing the controller, an expensive bit of electronics manufactured in Iran, will likely take a long time. Were the mixer to become operational, it could have enabled Hezbollah to set up a production line capable of turning out rather large quantities of precision-guided long-range missiles. Because of its use in manufacturing ballistic missiles, the mixer was delivered to Hezbollah by Iran in violation of international treaties.

According to The Times of Israel, this set back Hezbollah’s missile program by at least a year:

The target of a drone attack on a Hezbollah facility in Beirut early Sunday that has been attributed to Israel was an expensive and rare industrial mixing machine used in the creation of solid fuel, and the raid set back the terror group’s plans to develop long-range precision missiles by at least a year, according to Hebrew media reports late Tuesday….

According to Lebanese media Tuesday, the country’s military believes that the unmanned aerial vehicles were launched from within eight kilometers of the site of the explosion, indicating that they were either launched within Lebanon or came in from the sea.

So what really happened? The one thing we can rule out is that Israel attacked Hezbollah media offices. But were the drones operated by Israel and was this equipment targeted?

View it in context. Israel put on a substantial media display over the attack on Iranian bases, and also is in the midst of a media blitz about the Iranian missile program in Beirut. The IDF is naming names.

Something is happening in Beirut that lends credence to the reports about the copter-drone attack. The Israeli message is that they know everything about what Iran and Hezbollah are doing, they know who is doing it, and they know where it is being done.

If Israeli has such precise intelligence, it also has the means to act on it with a lot more than small copter-drones.

[Featured Image: Twitter via Times of Israel]


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