Iran Steps Up Threat With Drone Downed on Way to Israeli Nuclear Plant

Israeli officials are studying the wreckage of a drone apparently launched by the Iran-backed Hezbollah that infiltrated 35 miles into Israeli airspace before being shot down over the weekend.

Although its exact mission was unclear, one of the possibilities being examined is that the drone was on its way to Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor.

The drone flew in from the Mediterranean, flew briefly over the Gaza Strip, then was shot down by Israeli defense forces over an uninhabited wilderness area.

Although no one has claimed credit for launching the drone, Iranian officials have been cackling over the incident in the Mideast press. Israeli officials believe the drone may have been launched to test Israel’s defenses and fear that future drones may carry heavy weapons.

Jamaluddin Aberoumand, deputy coordinator for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said the drone’s flight showed that Israel’s anti-missile Iron Dome system, designed in cooperation with the U.S., “does not work and lacks the necessary capacity.”

Aberoumand did not deny that Hezbollah or Iran were involved.

A member of the Israeli Parliament, Miri Regev, a former military spokesman, wrote on Twitter that the drone was an “Iranian drone launched by Hezbollah.”

This is just the latest in the dangerous game being played in the Mideast between Iran and Russia on one side, and the U.S. on the other. President Obama’s shaky alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood, and backing from the Saudi royal family, have seemingly left Israel on its own as a proxy civil war is being fought in nearby Syria and Iran continues developing nuclear weapons.

A new report suggests that Iran may have sufficient nuclear fuel to build a warhead within two to four months, according to the Associated Press. The Institute for Science and International Security report says Iran would still face engineering challenges, but the technology is within reach.

Russia, meanwhile, has embarked on a policy of military buildup because Russian leaders sense that America is weak. With Obama promising concessions after his re-election, Russia might have been content to hang back in Syria, but Obama’s seemingly self-destructing presidency, underscored by his thumping in the debate by Mitt Romney, may have actually kicked up the danger level in the Middle East.