The Israeli military said Monday that it shot down a drone that crossed into its territory from the Gaza Strip, where the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas exercises complete political and military control.
Israeli radar systems tracked the drone near the communities of Karmiya and Zikim. “IDF troops spotted the drone entering from the Gaza Strip. The drone was shot down by IDF soldiers and it has been sent for investigation,” the military said in a statement.
Hamas, according to Israeli intelligence analysts, may increasingly relying on drones to carry out attacks, because Israel has developed countermeasures to both its rocket arsenal and its terror tunnels.
The terrorist group has been working on upgrading its UAVs for use in both offensive operations and intelligence gathering. The Hamas leadership has also developed an upgraded drone programme in collaboration with the Iranian regime.
In February 2017, the IDF shot down a Hamas drone that approached Israeli airspace. In September 2016, the IDF intercepted a drone heading for Israeli territory, while a UAV crashed close to the Gaza border fence three months earlier.
In 2016, Israeli authorities thwarted an attempt to smuggle drone models and disassembled drone parts into Gaza via the postal system. Drones were also launched from Gaza during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.
The latest incident comes amid lingering tensions along the border as Israel tries to maintain an informal long-term truce with the terrorist group, Hamas. The escalation in March marked the eleventh round of violence emanating from the Gaza Strip over the past year to which Israel has responded – and continues to respond – with immense restraint.
However, the IDF has since reported an increase in terror balloon attacks from the Gaza Strip. Hamas-orchestrated riots at the Gaza-Israeli border also continue.