An Israel Air Force fighter jet shot down a Hamas drone over the Gazan coastline shortly after 1 p.m. on Tuesday after the IDF tracked its movements.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said the drone had been under full surveillance from the moment it took off from the Strip and that it did not cross into or fly through Israeli airspace.
“The IDF will not permit any violation of [Israeli] airspace, and will act with determination against any such effort,” the army said.
In recent years, Hamas drones have, on occasion, come near and sometimes breached Israeli airspace, leading the IAF to scramble jets or fire missiles. Hamas’s armed wing maintains a domestic drone production program, for gathering intelligence on the IDF, and possibly to use the platforms to fire rockets at Israeli targets.
In June 2015, a drone from Gaza crashed in Israeli territory near the territory’s border fence. It plummeted on its own before the IDF had reason to engage it.
In February this year, Crossings Authority inspectors, together with the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), recently foiled an attempt to smuggle commercial multicopter drones into Gaza, authorities said on Sunday.
The drones were earmarked for use by “terrorist elements in Gaza” to gather intelligence on IDF movements, the authority said.
During the 2014 Gaza war (Operation Protective Edge), a drone that took off from the Strip breached Israeli airspace, and the IAF shot it down over Ashdod with a Patriot surfaceto- air missile.
In April 2015, Tal Inbar, head of the Space Research Center at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Herzliya, told The Jerusalem Post that Hamas produces its own drones, including some that have rockets on their wings.
“They are using knowledge, likely from Iran, to self-manufacture,” Inbar said. Hezbollah, by contrast, exclusively relies on weapons smuggled from Iran for its drone fleet