April 1, 2024 | Flash Brief

Iran-Backed Iraqi Militia Attacks Eilat With Drone

April 1, 2024 | Flash Brief

Iran-Backed Iraqi Militia Attacks Eilat With Drone

Latest Developments

A drone apparently launched from Iraq by Iran-backed militias fell on an Israeli naval base in Eilat on April 1, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Air defenses did not intercept the drone. The IDF said it identified a “suspicious aerial target” that flew toward Eilat from the east. “No injuries were reported and light damage was caused to a structure. The incident is under review,” the IDF said. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an Iran-backed group of militias, claimed it had targeted a “vital objective” in Israel “using appropriate weapons.” Iran-backed groups around the region have targeted Israel and U.S. forces since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, 2023.

Expert Analysis

“Iran-backed groups in Iraq have increased their threats to Israel in recent weeks. Iran is encouraging militias in Iraq to use drones to strike Israel. Iran has backed militias in Iraq for many years, trafficking weapons and drone technology to these dangerous groups. The Iran-backed groups in Iraq and in neighboring Syria have carried out hundreds of attacks on U.S. forces over the last four years, and they have expanded their regional threats to attack Israel. Iran and its proxy militias in the Middle East must be deterred from further attacks.” — Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

“For months, Iraqi militias and front groups supported by Iran have been asserting that they have been carrying out attacks on Israeli civilian and military targets. However, there has been minimal evidence to substantiate these claims. Despite the lack of proof, the incident in Eilat indicates that Israel’s missile defense system is not fool-proof, suggesting that the repeated attacks by Iraqi militias could potentially result in an increase in their proficiency in carrying out drone strikes.” Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Iran-Backed Groups Claim Two Attacks on Israel

The attack on Eilat on April 1 was the second attack in two days claimed by Iran-backed groups in Iraq. The Iran-backed Islamic Resistance in Iraq targeted the Christian village of Eilaboun in the Galilee on March 31, pro-Iran media outlet Al-Mayadeen said. “The previous day, the IDF said a fighter jet had intercepted ‘a suspicious aerial target’ — also thought to be a drone — that was making its way toward Israel from the direction of Syria,” The Times of Israel reported.

Iran-backed militias in Iraq have targeted Israel several times with drones since October 7, including a power plant on March 21. Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria have also carried out more than 100 attacks against U.S. forces in the region, killing three American servicemembers in Jordan on January 27. The Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen have also previously targeted Eilat on multiple occasions. On November 10, an Iran-backed militia in Syria launched a drone that struck an Eilat school.

Israel Intercepts Advanced Iranian Weapons En Route to West Bank,” FDD Flash Brief

Houthis Vow to Continue Attacks Despite U.S., UK Airstrikes,” FDD Flash Brief

U.S., UK Shoot Down Largest Houthi Missile and Drone Barrage in Red Sea,” FDD Flash Brief


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