Iran’s Revolutionary Guard began a drill near the strategic Strait of Hormuz to test dozens of Iranian-made drones, including armed drones, The Associated Press reported, citing the semi-official Iranian ISNA news agency.
Thursday’s report said that this the first time such a high number of offensive drones are being used in a drill. It quoted Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh of the Guard’s aerospace division as saying Iran has the region’s biggest offensive drone fleet.
The report also said that the drones flew for about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), then hit their targets.
The drill came days after Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami threatened to respond with force if Israel's Navy acts against Iranian crude oil ships.
Hatami said that Iran had the military capacity to protect its shipping lines, even if that included conflict with Israel.
His comment followed a warning last week by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who said that Iran is attempting to bypass international sanctions by smuggling petroleum via the sea.
"Iran is trying to bypass the sanctions on it through the covert smuggling of petroleum via the sea. As these attempts expand, the navy will have a more important role in efforts to block these Iranian actions," he said then.
Iran regularly holds drills next to the Strait of Hormuz, which is the passageway for nearly a third of all oil traded by sea.
Iran has threatened more than once to close the Strait of Hormuz, with the United States warning Iran in response that any attempt to close the strait would be viewed as a "red line" -- grounds for US military action.
Most recently, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened to disrupt other countries’ oil shipments through the Gulf if Washington presses ahead with efforts to halt Iranian oil exports.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)