Palestinian Islamists Release Video Showing Alleged Drone Strikes On Israeli Tanks

Chris Menahan
May. 31, 2019

A group called the Palestinian Islamic Jihad released video on Thursday purportedly showing makeshift air strikes on Israeli tanks using commercial drones.

From Defence Blog:
Militant group using commercial remote-controlled aircraft, referred to as drones, to attack Israel Defense Forces armored vehicles stationed on the Gaza border.

The footage, which starts with the words ‘what the enemy has kept silent about,’ shows two different attacks, bombs are dropped from an unmanned aerial vehicle onto two Merkava IV model tanks.

In the second attack, a drone hovers over a tank. It stays static, while text in the right-hand corner of the video says ‘waiting for the soldiers to leave,’ before dropping a makeshift bomb on the tank.

What strikes me first is that they cut out the frames right before the alleged explosion. Also, when the explosion goes off the soldier in the first video doesn't appear to even react. One commenter said they may have cut the frames out so as to hide the exact elevation of their drones, which does seem like a possibility.

Aurora Intel suggested it may have just been the tank's engine starting up with the exhaust on the side:

The second video does show what appears to be an fiery orange blast. There's been a lot of small scale drone attacks over the past three years throughout the Middle East, so I don't know if they'd really benefit much by faking such a video.

YNetNews reported Thursday that "the IDF said the terror groups in Gaza made multiple attempts to attack Israeli troops using drones during the latest cross-border fighting round in the Hamas-controlled enclave."

The prospect of cheap commercial drones being used for warfare (at a time when US F-35's which cost $90-115 million a piece are crashing left and right) is certainly a game changer. While they can't carry huge payloads, just imagine 1,000 of these little drones carpeting a city. You probably can't even hear them coming if they're just a few hundred feet up.

Venezuelan president Nicholas Maduro was allegedly targeted in a drone assassination attempt last year:

Houthi allegedly carried out a targeted small-scale drone attack on a group of Yemeni army leaders in January:

From NPR on Wednesday, "In Yemen Conflict, Some See A New Age Of Drone Warfare":
Drones are nothing new in the Middle East. U.S. intelligence agencies and the military have been using unmanned aerial vehicles in the region for well over a decade. But smaller drones have begun proliferating, and they are increasingly finding a role on the battlefield. It's the clearest sign yet, Waters says, of a new era of drone warfare.

The weapon launched in January was sent by Houthi rebels, who control a large part of Yemen and are partnered with Iran. Waters says the drone was a glorified model airplane with an explosive on the front and a propeller on the back. It flew a preprogrammed route using GPS. "Although it's like relatively simple, it can be very effective," he says.

In recent weeks, Houthis have been stepping up attacks with these small drones. They've struck targets inside Saudi Arabia, including oil pipelines and air fields. On Sunday, Saudi state media reported it had successfully repelled the latest attack, which was attempted on an airport near the border with Yemen.

The small drones used by the Houthis pose some significant problems for conventional militaries, according to Nicholas Heras, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security. "They're difficult to stop because they're low profile," he says. "They don't give off a lot of radar signature, they fly relatively slowly." Moreover, using GPS, they can navigate through holes in air defenses.

According to the U.S. government and several independent researchers, at least some of the drone technology being used by the Houthis seems to come from their main sponsor in the region — Iran.

Iran started developing drones in the 1980s, says Gawdat Bahgat, a professor at the National Defense University. The work started in part because Iran was under various arms embargoes, and its air force was woefully out of date.

"Within this context, drones are perfect," Bahgat says. They provide air power for "a fraction of the cost of fighter jets."
We're spending $700 billion a year on our military for, among other things, F-35s and aircraft carriers which are largely worthless in the face of small-scale guerrilla warfare. We should really be spending that money at home rather than searching for enemies to fight.

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