October 13, 2012 in Nation/World

Israel: Hezbollah sent drone to nuclear facility


JERUSALEM – A drone aircraft that entered Israeli airspace earlier this week was apparently on a mission to take pictures of the Dimona nuclear research center in southern Israel, Israeli officials confirmed Friday.

What the aircraft managed to learn and whether it transmitted its observations to a remote facility was not immediately known. Israeli officials have said the aircraft was launched from southern Lebanon and was shot down “some time” after it entered Israeli airspace. Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia, said its technicians assembled the aircraft from parts provided by Iran.

“This was a crude device, but it was a drone with all the capabilities that unmanned aerial crafts offer, and for that reason it is worrying,” an Israeli military official told McClatchy.

The drone was the third unmanned aircraft Hezbollah has dispatched over Israel. Israeli officials said it was the most sophisticated to date. According to the initial account of its downing, the aircraft entered Israeli airspace from the Mediterranean and traveled about 35 miles before it was shot down.

Dimona, where Israel is believed to assemble its nuclear weapons, is about 45 miles from the Israeli coast.

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