Patriot anti-missile battery 311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
The IDF deployed a Patriot surface-to-air missile battery on Mount Carmel near
Haifa on Monday.
The move came two days after an unidentified drone
intruded into Israeli air space and flew over the northern Negev and southern
West Bank, before being shot down by Israeli F-16I fighter jets.
Spokesman’s Office confirmed the deployment of the Patriot battery, but added
that “this is not an unusual occurrence.”
Channel 2 said the deployment
came due to the possibility that further attempts would be made to send drones
into Israeli air space.
The Patriot system can intercept medium-range
ballistic missiles and planes, and is also believed to be capable of shooting
down drones. It can intercept threats between the ranges of 60 to 160
The batteries are operated by the IDF’s Air Defense
On Saturday morning, the IAF shot down a small unmanned aerial
vehicle as it flew over southern Israel in one of the most flagrant violations
of Israeli airspace by a hostile party in years.
The craft was likely
operated by Hezbollah
, with Iranian backing. It did not carry any explosives,
and appears to have been dispatched on an intelligence-gathering mission, as well
as to test Israel’s air defenses.
A squadron of F-16I fighter jets was
scrambled from the Ramon Air Force Base in the Negev Desert immediately after
the UAV was identified. The pilots received instructions to trail the mysterious
craft for a while, before being told to blow it out of the sky for safety
At 10 a.m. one of the fighter jets launched a missile, directly
striking and downing the UAV.
On the ground, bomb squad soldiers from the
IDF Engineering Corps were waiting to pick up the burnt debris. They rounded up
the fragments and took them to military labs for analysis.