Israeli F-16 fighter bombers track unmanned aircraft apparently sent by Nasrallah, destroy it about 8 kms off Haifa shore.
Israel Navy vessels searching for wreckage
It has been cleared for publication that Israeli F-16 fighter jets downed a drone off of Haifa’s coastline at around noon Thursday.
The unmanned aircraft apparently entered Israel’s airspace from the north and was heading south. Explosions were heard in the area.
Israel Navy vessels were searching for the wreckage. The drone was apparently sent by Hezbollah in Lebanon. The warplanes were scrambled from the Ramat David airbase. Reports of Israeli flyovers in Lebanon followed the drone’s interception.
The IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit issued a statement saying, “Today the (army) thwarted the penetration of an unmanned aircraft into Israeli territory. Shortly after 1 pm a drone was identified as it was flying north to south from the Lebanese coastline. The air defense system tracked for (several) minutes it while it was still in Lebanese territory, and it was tracked throughout its flight until the interception.
“IAF planes were scrambled, as were combat helicopters, after it was determined that the aircraft was not friendly, and certainly not (an Israeli) aircraft. The Air Force commander authorized the interception,” the army said.
The drone was downed over the sea, some eight to 10 kilometers (5-6.5 miles) off Haifa’s coastline after being identified by IAF radars at 13:30 pm. It was downed at exactly 13:40 pm by two F-16 fighter jets on the first attempt.
The army noted that the downed drone was relatively small, and it remains unclear whether it was carrying explosives, like other attack drones in Hezbollah’s possession. The IDF does not know at this time what the drone’s destination was, but said it was headed south.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received an update on the attempted infiltration of Israeli airspace when he was on a flight to the country’s north. The PM’s plane landed for a short time, until the drone was shot down, and then continued on its way.
“I see this attempt to cross into Israeli territory as a very serious issue. We will continue to do whatever is necessary to ensure the citizens of Israel remain safe,” the PM said in a statement.
View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4372464,00.html