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CENTCOM’s Gen. McKenzie on Iran drone threat to U.S. forces in Iraq

A drone is launched during a large-scale drone combat exercise of Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in Semnan, Iran on Jan. 4 of this year.
FPI / June 13, 2021

Iran is producing more sophisticated and lethal drones and distributing them to its terror proxies, posing an increasing threat to U.S. forces in Iraq, the commander of U.S. Central Command said.

Iran has in its arsenal kamikaze drones that are as large as a person, carry a warhead, and use precise coordinates to carry out attacks, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said at a press briefing on June 8.

Because the drones have a pre-planned route, they are hard to jam and can be hard to shoot down, the CENTCOM chief said.

Iran’s terror proxies throughout the Mideast are reportedly being armed with the improved drones. During the recent Gaza conflict, Israel’s Iron Dome air-defense system downed drones for the first time.

There have been at least four recent drone attacks in Iraq, the most recent on June 7 when drones, likely operated by Iranian-backed militias, attacked Ain al-Asad Airbase. They were shot down.

On May 8, another drone incident took place, and in April, a drone attacked a secret CIA hangar at Erbil International Airport in the Kurdish Region of Iraq. There was also a drone attack on May 11.

“We are seeing pressure from Iranian-affiliated militant groups that want to push us out of Iraq, and the latest manifestation of that has been the use of small unmanned aerial systems, or drones,” McKenzie said.

The drone which attacked the CIA hangar in Erbil was said to have used a civilian flight path to avoid detection or interception, according to reports.

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