U.S. Representative Ed Royce

39th District of California

A-Team’s Terror Drone

AP Israel drone downed


Washington, October 10, 2012 - Then-Deputy Secretary of State Armitage quipped ten years ago about Hezbollah being the terrorist "A-team." They are living up to the ranking.

Take the incident over Israel last weekend, only a blip in the U.S. press. On Saturday, an unmanned, unarmed surveillance drone entered Israeli airspace from the Mediterranean coast and flew for about 20 minutes before Israeli warplanes blew it out of the sky and released the video. The next day, Israeli fighter jets buzzed pro-Hezbollah villages as a reminder of who owns the sky.

Officially, no one is saying where the drone originated or who produced it. But everyone thinks/knows it's Hezbollah, with a big hand from Tehran. Iran has supplied the "Party of God" with many advanced weapons. Hezbollah sent drones Israel’s way in 2004 (crashed into the Mediterranean) and during the 2006 war (also shot down). I was in Haifa in 2006 and saw the damage Hezbollah did with its rockets. A drone – reportedly packed with explosives and headed for population centers would have taken things to another level.

There are a lot of theories on the drone’s mission. Was it just to prove they could do it, or were there specific surveillance targets in mind? The distance and length of flight suggests that Hezbollah drone capabilities have grown leaps and bounds in recent years. Imagine the psychological impact if Canada wanted to wipe us off the map and was flying drones from Toronto over central New York….after committing a string of terrorist attacks around the world.

Iran has boasted that the incident shows poor Israeli air defense. Israel says it waited and watched the drone before taking it out over a barren area to avoid casualties. This gave them a chance to observe its capabilities and perhaps retrieve parts from the wreckage. They’ll be trying to figure out the sophistication of the drone. Was it directed by a command center or guided by satellites?

Unlike Mr. T and the boys from the corny '80s TV show, Hezbollah aren’t misfits using their skills for good – and they have state support. Mr. T pitied the fool who didn't take the "A-Team" seriously. Agreed.

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