IDF used attack drones in Gaza, rights group alleges

International Human Rights Watch says 29 Gazans killed by unmanned aerial vehicle in Cast Lead.

Israeli drone 248.88 (photo credit:
Israeli drone 248.88
(photo credit:
The International Human Rights Watch is expected to publish a report this week on the topic of the IDF's alleged use of attack drones. According to HRW, the report will focus on several specific examples in which the IDF used an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to attack Palestinian targets in the Gaza Strip. The focus of the report - compiled by the organization's military expert Mark Garlasco - will be on Operation Cast Lead which the IDF launched against Hamas in late December. Following the operation, HRW researchers issued an initial report which investigated six drone attacks in the Gaza Strip in which, HRW claims, 29 civilians were killed. According to the initial report - issued in March - five of the six attacks took place in broad daylight and in civilian areas that were removed from the fighting. Foreign media reports over the years have revealed that the Hermes 450 long-range UAV, developed by Elbit Systems Ltd., is used by the Israel Air Force in targeted killings in the Gaza Strip. Reports that surfaced after Operation Cast Lead claimed that the Hermes 450 also participated in the alleged Israeli strike on a weapons convoy in the Sudanese desert on its way to Gaza. According to HRW, the drones used during the Gaza operation primarily carried a variant of the US-made Spike anti-tank missile, with a lethal blast radius of ten to twenty meters. According to the organization, drones were used by the IAF when it bombed the Gaza City police headquarters on the first day of the operation, December 27. HRW claimed to have found "hundreds of perfectly cubic pieces of metal shrapnel, circuit boards and other parts (including some marked with Motorola serial numbers), and four small impact craters - all consistent with drone-fired missiles."