Iran-Backed Militias Display Long-Range Drone Power In Regional Escalation
by Robert Tollast
Tehran has long been suspected of equipping Iraqi militias with drones to hit non-military targets, including oil infrastructure
Iran-backed militias in Iraq have revealed a collection of long-range drones that could hit other countries in the region, including Israel.
On Sunday, video footage emerged of Iraqi groups in the Popular Mobilisation Forces, an umbrella organisation of militias, parading an array of apparently new unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs.
Most PMF groups are trained, advised and equipped by Iran, although they have formal status in Iraq's armed forces.
“What I found interesting is that they showed Sammad/UAV-X type drones. Depending on the version, these should have the ability to strike Israel from Iraq,” said Fabian Hinz, an independent expert on drone and missile technology proliferation.
PMF groups have used drones since at least 2014, usually smaller ones, in the war against ISIS.
Normally these are used for reconnaissance but small UAVs fitted with explosive charges – so-called kamikaze drones – have been used in at least three attacks on US bases in Iraq this year.
Drones such as the Sammad, designed by Iran, used by the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen – and now paraded by the PMF, represent an entirely new threat, having a range in excess of 1,000 kilometres.
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