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    5. Shahed drone: Iran's inexpensive but deadly weapon of choice


    Shahed drone: Iran's inexpensive but deadly weapon of choice

    The drones are equipped with warheads weighing up to 50 kg and a range of up to 2000 kilometers. Photo: AP

    When launched in Tehran, dozens of explosive-laden drones attacked Israel and were soon heard and spotted in Iranian skies.

    Videos posted online showed them flying over the Iranian cities of Kermanshah, Khozestan and Andimeshq.

    And soon they were filmed over the border in Iraqi Sulaymaniyah and the city of Karbala.

    “Dozens of drones were seen flying from Iran towards Israel over Iraqi airspace,” two Iraqi security sources told Reuters.

    Drones launched from Iran were seen flying low over Iraq, and social media was flooded with footage of the weapon making a loud whirring sound.

    The drones are believed to belong to the martyrs – “Witness” in Farsi.

    The deadly long-range drone became known in Tehran as the “AK-47”: cheap, mass-produced and ready for export around the world to zones conflicts where the regime has a vested interest.

    Their lawnmower hum is already well known to Ukrainians, who are constantly under attack from Russian Iranian drones.

    There, the sound of Shahid grumbling in the sky signals an imminent explosion and, often, civilian casualties. Equipped with warheads weighing up to 50 kg and a range of up to 2,000 kilometers, the Russians rely mainly on Shaheds to attack power grids and grain storage facilities.

    The Shahed has been used many times before by Iranian proxies in the Middle East, particularly by Houthi groups who relied on it against the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, and most recently in a series of attacks on Western commercial vessels in the Red Sea. . The Syrian regime's drone fleet also reportedly includes Shaheds.

    The Shahed-136 drone was used in Iran's infamous July 2021 drone attack on a ship, according to U.S. officials. Mercer Street” in the Red Sea. which killed a Romanian sailor and a British security guard.

    By launching drones from Iran, more than 1,000 km from Israel, Tehran appears to have deliberately avoided the element of surprise.

    < p>The drones flying over Iraq appeared to fly very low, apparently trying to avoid local radar.

    It was unclear Saturday evening whether the drone salvos would be followed by further cruise or ballistic missile launches.

    If Iran's goal is to overwhelm Israeli air defenses, it may have launched relatively slow drones well before the missiles were launched, trying to ensure that the weapons reach Israel at approximately the same time.

    p> >

    “The Shahed 136 is not the most advanced drone in the world,” Bradley Bowman, senior director of the Center for Military and Political Power at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said earlier this year.< /p>

    “But “The point is that you can achieve very important results on the battlefield with low-tech and inexpensive systems, especially if you can use them in large quantities.”

    “Iranian drones are not only a problem for the Ukrainians. They pose a problem for Israel, the US and their Arab partners.”

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