IDF spokesman says drone downed with Patriot missile by the IAF, appeared to have belonged to Syria’s military & had flown inadvertently into Israeli airspace.
By Ahiya Raved, Roi Kais, Itay Blumental
The IAF fired a Sunday afternoon, shooting down an unmanned aerial vehicle that strayed into Israeli airspace from neighboring Syria, the IDF said.
The IDF said the incident occurred near Quneitra in the Syrian Golan Heights, the scene of heavy fighting between Syrian government troops and rebels.
Lt.-Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the IDF, said the drone appeared to have belonged to the Syrian military and had flown accidentally into Israeli airspace.
He said Israel “will respond to any breach of Israel’s sovereignty.”
Also on Sunday, Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV station reported increased IAF aircraft activity over southern Lebanon.
The last time a drone coming from the northern front flew over the Israeli airspace was in April 2013, when IAF F-16 fighter jets downed a UAV off of Haifa’s coastline.
The unmanned aircraft, which was flying at an altitude of about 6,000 feet (1,800 meters) when it was downed, apparently entered Israel’s airspace from the north and was heading south. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for sending the drone from Lebanon.
The drone was downed over the sea, some eight to 10 kilometers (5-6.5 nautical 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. The army noted that the downed drone was relatively small.
On July 14, six days into Operation Protective Edge, Hamas’ TV station broadcast photos allegedly taken by a Hamas drone. That drone was shot down by a Patriot battery over Ashdod.
Hamas claimed responsibility for the attempted attack and claimed that its members launched several UAVs from Gaza. Palestinian sources close to Hamas said “the aerial vehicles penetrated deep into Israel, more than 60 km away from Gaza.”
A statement released by Hamas’ military wing, Al-Qassam Brigades, said the UAVs that penetrated Israeli airspace were of the Ababil-1 variety, an Iranian-made model.
The military wing admitted that they lost “contact with one of the aerial vehicles in the second sortie and another vehicle in the third sortie.” One UAV was intercepted over the skies of Ashdod, but Hamas claimed its fleet had already captured footage of Tel Aviv: “We executed a number of maneuvers over the Kirya in Tel Aviv.”
Three days later, another Hamas drone was shot down over Ashkelon.
Yoav Zitun and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4566072,00.html