Iranian and Iraq intelligence sources claim an Israeli Harop UAV carried out the attack on the 52nd Brigade of the Hashd Shaabi militia on Friday, July 19. The attack struck the militia at a Badr Brigades camp outside Amerli town in the Salahudin Province northeast of Baghdad. The sources identify the fragments gathered at the site as belonging to the IAF’s Harop, a loitering combat unmanned vehicle, itself a flying bomb, developed by Israel’s Aerospace Industries. This drone is a stealth munition that can loiter for up to six hours before homing in on a target. It has a range of 1,000km. The Badr camp is about 900km from Israel.
Some Russian aviation websites also speculated on Sunday that Israel was responsible for the attack.
According to Iranian Revolutionary Guards, there were no casualties – in denial of local accounts of deaths among Iranian and Hizballah officers.
If the Iranian and Iraqi claim is confirmed, it would represent three groundbreaking events:
- The Israeli Air Force’s first known attack on an Iranian target using a Harop UCAV.
- The first Israeli attack deep inside Iraq not far from its border with Iran.
- The Israeli minister Tzachi Hnegbi’s blunt remark on Sunday,
that in the past two years Israel has caused Iranian military deaths in both
overt and covert operations, may have betrayed some impatience with the Trump
administration’s policy of military restraint against Iran, including Tehran’s threat
to Gulf shipping. In certain circles, Washington’s restraint is seen as exposing
Israel to bolder Iranian aggression.
Israel has repeatedly put Tehran on notice that its plans to use Iraq as a launching pad for attacks on Israel would not be tolerated.