A drone which infiltrated from the Gaza Strip and was seen over the community of Zikim was intercepted by the Israeli military and taken in for inspection, the army said on Monday.
The drone was identified by Israeli radar systems as crossing over the border in the northern Gaza Strip, flying near the communities of Karmiya and Zikim and tracked by troops until it was downed.
Its pieces were collected by the IDF and transferred for further inspection, and to determine where it came from and what it had been carrying.
Hamas has sent drones into Israel in the past, leading the IDF to scramble jets or fire missiles. The group is said to have been working on upgrading its UAVs for use in both offensive operations and intelligence gathering.
In 2012, during Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza, the IDF said it struck Hamas facilities that were being used to develop drones capable of carrying explosives. Then-GOC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo said at the time that the IDF destroyed “advanced weaponry, like the development of a UAV that isn’t used for photography but for attacks deep inside Israel.”
In February 2017, a Hamas drone that was making its way toward Israel from the Gaza Strip fell into the sea after being shot down by an Israeli F-16. The previous year, Hamas’s chief drone expert and engineer, Muhammad Zouari, was assassinated in Tunisia in an operation blamed on the Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence agency.
Last year, a drone armed with explosives launched from the northern part of the Gaza Strip landed in the area of the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. The drone was recovered whole and was examined by the IDF to determine whether it was launched with the intention of injuring Israeli soldiers and fell before reaching its intended target, or if the individual operating the device lost control.
In the last round of violence between Israel and terrorist groups in the Strip, the IDF said that there were multiple attempts to attack troops stationed along the border using drones. In one attempt, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed that a drone belonging to its military wing dropped an explosive device in the vicinity of an IDF tank.
In the video, the drone drops an IED above the tank, which was deployed close to the border, after it spots IDF troops approaching it. The device exploded near the tank but did not cause any injuries to nearby troops.
For the past year, thousands of Gazans have been protesting along the security fence on a weekly basis, taking part in "Great Return March" demonstrations, calling for an end to the 12-year-long Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.
During the violent weekly protests, Gazans have been burning tires and hurling stones, as well as grenades and other explosive devices, towards IDF troops. Gazans have also launched countless aerial incendiary devices into southern Israel, sometimes with explosive devices attached to them.