Two Iron Dome interceptors were fired by the Israeli military on Thursday morning after an Israeli aircraft was misidentified as a possible infiltration from Lebanon.
The launching of the interceptors caused incoming rocket sirens to be activated in several communities along Israel’s border with Lebanon.
“Due to an error in identification, the IDF Aerial Defense Array launched interceptors that caused the alarms heard in northern Israel,” the army said in a statement.
IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ran Kohav said the decision to activate the alert was the correct decision because of the risk posed by shrapnel that could have fallen.
Nothing infiltrated into Israel, and the Israeli aircraft was not downed by the interceptor missiles.
Later on Thursday the IDF said that a suspicious aircraft spotted over the Gaza Strip was intercepted by air defense systems.
“The platform did not cross into Israeli territory and was monitored throughout the incident,” said the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
The incidents come several days after the Israeli military downed a drone flown by Hezbollah that infiltrated into the North of the country. Last month a rocket was fired into northern Israel by Palestinians believed to belong to Hamas. It fell in an open area near Kibbutz Matzuva and did not cause any damage or injuries.
In response, the IDF fired dozens of artillery shells toward targets in southern Lebanon.
On Monday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz warned that the month-long drill in which Israel’s military is currently engaged is “preparing for various scenarios against our enemies in various theaters and against Hezbollah and Hamas, which also operates from Lebanon.”
Gantz made the comments while observing the drill, dubbed “Chariots of Fire,” which simulates a prolonged war on several fronts between Israel and its enemies.
While Hamas has fired several rockets from southern Lebanon, it is unknown if it also has drones in its arsenal in the north. Hamas in the Gaza Strip has heavily invested in its drone capabilities and in recent years has breached Israeli airspace, leading the IDF to scramble jets or fire interceptor missiles.
Drones launched from Gaza have sometimes carried explosives. In May 2019, Palestinian Islamic Jihad used a drone to drop a mortar shell on a tank stationed at the border. The attack, during a violent flare-up between Israel and terrorist organizations in the Hamas-run enclave, was filmed by the group and later released on social media.
Several months later, in September, an IDF Humvee was slightly damaged by an improvised explosive device dropped by a drone.