Iraqi militias claim targeting of Israel's Ben Gurion Airport with a suicide drone

Iraqi militias claim targeting of Israel's Ben Gurion Airport with a suicide drone
In a significant development since Israel's conflict with Gaza, Iraqi militia groups aligned with Iran assert targeting Ben Gurion Airport with a suicide drone.
3 min read
12 March, 2024
The group released a video showing the initial moments of the drone launch from an open location. [Getty]

For the first time since Israel's war on Gaza, Iraqi militia groups aligned with Iran have claimed they had targeted Israel's Ben Gurion Airport with a suicide drone late on Monday night. 

The Iraqi militia groups aligned with Iran and regulated under the Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for targeting the airport, marking the group's second operation towards Israeli territory in less than a week.

Iraqi security sources suggest that the drone reported by Jordanian authorities to have crashed in the province of Irbid last night is likely the same one used to strike Ben Gurion Airport.

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A statement from the group, which comprises various armed Iraqi factions, including Hezbollah Brigades, Al-Nujaba Movement, and other factions closely associated with Iran, indicated that they targeted Ben Gurion Airport "Deep within the occupying entity" using a drone. This action is described as part of the "second phase of resistance operations against occupation, in solidarity with our people in Gaza, and response to Zionist massacres against innocent Palestinian civilians."

The group released a video showing the initial moments of the drone launch from an open location.

After the start of Israel's war on Gaza, Iran-backed militias in Iraq under the name of Iraq's Islamic Resistance have conducted hundreds of attacks on US forces in both Iraq and Syria over Washington's unwavering support for Tel Aviv in its brutal onslaught on the besieged enclave. They also claimed the responsibility of attacking several Israeli targets.

A source close to Brigade 12 of the Popular Mobilisation Forces in Iraq's Anbar province told Al Arabiya Al Jadeed, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister publication, that the "Islamic resistance operations in Iraq against the Zionist entity will escalate in the coming days."

The source considered these operations to be "Unrelated to the current calm within Iraq, which concerns only American forces," describing the Iraqi factions' actions as "A legitimate and ethical duty."

About two hours after Iraqi factions claimed responsibility for launching the explosive-laden drone towards Ben Gurion Airport, a Jordanian security source announced that specialised explosive ordnance disposal teams in the Jordanian Armed Forces had found parts of a drone in an uninhabited area in Irbid province.

The spokesperson confirmed that the downing of the drone did not cause any significant damage, adding that authorities had begun investigating the incident to determine the source of the drone.

Responding to a question from Al Arabiya Al Jadeed about whether the drone that Jordan announced had crashed in Irbid is the same one claimed to have been launched by Iraqi factions, an Iraqi security official from the Iraqi Ministry of Interior in Baghdad stated that "The presumed trajectory for targeting Ben Gurion Airport is over Jordanian airspace as it is shorter, so it could be the same drone," confirming that the source of the attack was not from Iraqi territory, and it appears to be from Syrian territory.

Iraqi security expert and former army colonel Saad Al-Lami told the website, "It is important to note Israel's concern about the expansion of Iraqi factions' attacks using drones. Therefore, the repetition of announcing the launch of explosive-laden drones toward Palestinian territories will be another pressure tactic on the occupation government. Additionally, Iraqi factions deployed in Syria or Iraq have a large maneuvering space and can choose multiple launch areas each time."

According to Colonel Al-Lami, the most important question is whether Jordan intercepted and shot down the drone as it passed through its airspace or if it crashed due to a malfunction.