Israelis will have to wait until the next World Cup for the possibility of seeing their national soccer team on the field, but in the meantime they can be consoled by the successes of Israeli drones that are working overtime to secure this year's event in Brazil.

A Heron drone outfitted with a heat-sensing camera developed by Israeli defense firm IAI  helped nab the drug gang leader "Little P" as part of the Brazilian police's efforts to curb violence in Rio de Janeiro’s slums ahead of the World Cup, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.

According to the report the Heron drone hunted for Little P for one month before police made the arrest on March 26. The drone allowed the police to monitor their suspect late at night and far from view and earshot.

World Cup play kicks off Thursday evening with a match between Croatia and Brazil. 

In March, another defense firm, Elbit Systems, won a contract with the Brazilian Air Force to supply its Hermes 900 drone for the games. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, which Elbit says calls “a unique solution for intelligence missions, border protection, perimeter control of infrastructure and critical site,” will hover 30,000 feet above the games gathering security intelligence.  

The Brazilian Air Force uses the Hermes 450 for continuous border intelligence missions aimed at disrupting cross-border drug smuggling.

Niv Elis and Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.



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