In yet another display of their unchecked aggression toward Israel, Iran’s Defense Ministry recently announced that it had launched a massive exercise involving 50 drones. The Iranian drones are based on a reverse engineered U.S. Sentinel drone captured by the Iranians in 2011. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said this exercise was intended to demonstrate Iran’s military strength and develop a plan to attack Israel with a fleet of combat drones. IRGC Ground Force commander Maj.-Gen. Golam Ali Rashid this was the strongest exercise of its kind to date. According to reports by Iranian news agencies, Fars News and Tasnim News the operation was named “Beit al-Maqdis,” as a reference to it ultimate target of Jerusalem. The operation was attended by the commander of the IRGC, Hossein Salami, and IRGC Aerospace Force commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh. The Iranians indicated this was the first time that so many drones operated simultaneously in an “offensive operation” at distances of more than 1,000 km away from each other. The drone pilots are being trained to strike predetermined targets with “high precision.” Boasting to the Iranian press, Maj.-Gen. Rashid claimed that “today we are witnessing the strongest maneuvers of the IRGC’s Aerospace Forces.” Iranian enemies will be “humiliated and feel shame,” according to the statement.
IRGC commander Salami said he appreciated the power of the IRGC’s air force and that the most recent operation demonstrates that despite U.S. sanctions, Iran is achieving military success. While Tehran has created other version of the Sentinel drone previous operations were limited as the drones were limited in their capabilities. The drones in the recent “Beit al-Maqdis” operation was apparently more advanced and capable of inflicting far greater damage. This operation came in the wake of a large naval drill in February and frequent new tests of ballistic missiles. Last year, Iran fired ballistic missiles at Kurdish opposition groups in Iraq and also at ISIS in Syria. IRGC Aerospace Force commander Hajizadeh commented, “One of the features of this exercise is the power to design and plan co-flying UAVs in a very small geographic area that has brought about the rise of a new air power in Islamic Iran.” According to multiple news reports, the drones operated in numerous provinces in Iran.
Many prophecy teachers find it interesting that the Bible describes “locust” type creatures that play a significant role in an end-times conflict. Revelation 9 describes them as “the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon” (Revelation 9:7-11 KJV). While many understand these “locusts” as demonic beings, John may have seen advanced military weaponry such as combat drones in his vision. Such similarities should cause us concern and drive us to prayer. — PNL