The Israeli military has claimed that the Iranian drone that infiltrated their airspace on Saturday morning (February 10) was a copy of RQ-170 Sentinel, a US aircraft captured by the Islamic Republic in 2011.
Soon after the drone entered their airspace, it was shot down by the Israeli Air Force. Following which, military experts had analyzed the footage released by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) on Saturday night and said that the Iranian drone was called Saeqeh (Thunderbolt) whose design was based off a US aerial vehicle.
The IDF had tracked the drone at 0450 hours local time on Saturday morning. The drone that was operated from a base in Syria traveled 3 to 4 miles into the Israeli territory before it was shot down by an Apache attack helicopter in the Israeli town of Beit She'an, New York Post reported.
IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus confirmed that it was the first time that a drone had crossed the Israeli airspace since the Syrian civil war started.
"It was an Iranian copy of a U.S. drone that they got hold of a few years ago and they duplicated" Yuval Steinitz, the security cabinet minister of Israel was quoted as saying by Press TV.
According to reports on CNN, Iran had built a copy of the drone after reverse-engineering its technology in May 2014.
Iran, however, has rubbished the statements made by Israel and called it 'ridiculous'. "Claims about the flight of an Iranian drone are too ridiculous to be addressed because the Islamic Republic of Iran has an advisory presence in Syria at the request of the country's legitimate and constitutional government," Bahram Qassemi, a spokesperson from the Iranian Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying by the Tehran Times.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had also stated that his country sought peace but 'would defend themselves against any attack from enemies'. He also told Washington Post that he was " against any attempt by Iran to establish military bases in Syria or anywhere else".