Iran Scorns Israeli Air Defenses, Complains of Cyber Attack

Iran derided Israel's air defenses as feeble on Monday, citing a drone incursion into its arch-foe's airspace, but did not say it had sent the aircraft shot down by the Israelis at the weekend.

It also accused Israel and others of masterminding what it said was a cyber attack on communication networks on Iranian offshore oil and gas platforms in the past few weeks.

With tension high over Iran's disputed nuclear program and Israeli threats to attack it, the remarks by Iranian officials pointed to possible aspects of a shadow war waged by the two adversaries and perhaps by Israel's Western allies, whose sanctions have battered the Iranian economy and currency.

Jamaluddin Aberoumand, deputy coordinator for Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said the drone intrusion showed that Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile defense system "does not work and lacks the necessary capacity", Fars news agency reported.

The Israeli air force shot down a drone on Saturday after it crossed into southern Israel, the military said, but it remained unclear where the aircraft had come from.

Iron Dome is designed to shoot down short-range guerrilla rockets, not slow-flying planes such as drones.

The Israeli military said the drone was first spotted above the Mediterranean near the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip to the west of Israel and shot down by a fighter plane over Israeli territory.

Israeli parliament member and former military spokesman Miri Regev described it as "Iranian drone launched by Hezbollah", the Lebanese Shi'ite group that fought a war with Israel in 2006.

Israeli defense officials have not confirmed this. Hezbollah has sent a drone into Israeli airspace at least once previously.

Aberoumand attributed claims the drone was made by Iran to a "psychological operation" by Israel, but did not confirm or deny them. "The Zionist regime (Israel) has many enemies," he added.

Israel has threatened to bomb Iran's nuclear sites if diplomatic efforts fail to stop the nuclear work it believes is aimed at getting weapons capability, a charge Tehran denies.

Iran has responded with threats to attack U.S. military bases in the region and retaliate against Israel if attacked.

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SOURCE: Reuters
Yeganeh Torbati
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