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Tehran Vows to 'Accelerate' Arming of Palestinians

Move is in retaliation for Israel deploying a spy drone over Iran, which was shot down, says IRGC.
By AFP, Arutz Sheva
First Publish: 8/25/2014, 12:17 PM / Last Update: 8/25/2014, 1:20 PM

Elbit's Hermes UAV (file)
Elbit's Hermes UAV (file)
Elbit Systems

Tehran will "accelerate" arming Palestinians in Judea and Samaria in retaliation for Israel allegedly deploying a spy drone over Iran, which was shot down, a military commander said on Monday.

"We will accelerate the arming of the West Bank and we reserve the right to give any response," said General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, commander of aerial forces of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, in a statement on their official website sepahnews.com.

The warning comes a day after the Guards said they had brought down an Israeli stealth drone above the Natanz uranium enrichment site in the center of the country. Hours later, a senior Iranian official said on Sunday that parts of the drone remained intact.

General Ramazan Sharif, a spokesman for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, was quoted by The Associated Press (AP) as having told Iranian state television that officials believed the drone to be a "new generation" drone used by Israel.

"Major parts of the devices of the drone are intact and have been received by our friends that can be used for further information," Sharif was quoted as having said.

He did not say when the aircraft was shot down, but said it was "identified upon arrival in Iranian airspace."

Sharif said authorities allowed it to fly for a short time to determine its destination.

An Israeli spokesman told AFP in Jerusalem on Sunday after the report that the drone had been shot down that the military does "not address foreign media reports".  

Hajizadeh said at a news conference broadcast on television that the unmanned aircraft shot down was a "Hermes" stealth drone that "can evade radar".

"Pieces of the drone have been recovered intact and are being analysed," he said, adding that it had a range of 800 kilometres (500 miles).  

It was spotted by our surveillance system and shot down by a Revolutionary Guards surface-to-air missile," Hajizadeh said.

Although Hermes drones are produced by Israel, the downed UAV's country of origin is far from certain. Several western nations, as a well as Iran's neighbor Azerbaijan, also use the unmanned reconnaissance aircraft as well.