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DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran on Friday displayed a home-built combat drone that it said had a range of 2,000 km (1,250 miles), naming it “Gaza” in honour of the Palestinians’ struggle against Israel, state media reported.
Iran has a large missile and drone programme, regarding such weapons as an important deterrent and retaliatory force against the United States and other adversaries in the event of war.
The West sees Iran’s missiles both as a conventional military threat to regional stability and a possible delivery mechanism for nuclear weapons should Tehran develop them. Iran denies trying to build nuclear arms.
The Revolutionary Guards said the new drone was capable of flying for 35 hours and carrying 13 bombs and 500 kg (1,100 lbs)of electronics equipment, the state news agency IRNA reported.
The head of the Revolutionary Guards, Major General Hossein Salami, said the new drone was named “Gaza” in honor “of those in that land who stand today against the invasion and aggression of the Zionists (Israel”, the Guards’ website reported.
Although leaders of Palestinian militant groups in Gaza, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have frequently praised Iran’s financial and military support, Tehran has usually not given public confirmation of its weapons supply.
But Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last year hailed Tehran’s supply of arms to Palestinians.
A truce between Israel and Hamas took hold on Friday after the worst violence in years.