03:40 GMT +321 August 2019
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    A drone belonging to the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed wing, flies over Gaza City on December 14, 2014 during a parade by Palestinian militants marking the 27th anniversary of the Islamist movement’s creation.

    IDF Fighter Jets Down Hamas Drone Before it Enters Israeli Territory

    © AFP 2019 / MAHMUD HAMS MAHMUD HAMS
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    On Tuesday, Jerusalem army sources reported that Israeli F-16 Air Force fighter jets shot down a drone launched off the Gaza coast by Hamas.

    The specifications of the unmanned craft have not be released, but a military statement claimed the UAV was airborne for only a brief period of time as it was "under IAF surveillance from the moment it took off from the Gaza Strip." 

    An anonymous military source told the Times of Israel that the drone, shot down around at 10AM local time, did not enter Israeli territory. Hamas has indicated that it is capable of such activities, but has not taken responsibility for the drone, which fell into the Mediterranean Sea.

    The army stated, "The IDF will not allow any violation of [Israeli] airspace and will act decisively against any such attempt." 

    Hamas admitted previously to a June 2015 launching of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that fell close to a border fence inside Israeli territory. A spokesman for Hamas said, "We launched several unmanned aerial vehicles to perform special tasks deep within Israel."  

    Since 2014, Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, among others, have intermittently launched drones into Israel.

    Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner remarked, "Hamas has been developing its drone capabilities especially in the last two years…Today’s event proves once more that Hamas continues to invest in tools of terror and not the needs of the people of Gaza."

    The Israeli Defense Ministry claimed to thwart attempts at smuggling drones and communication equipment into Gaza. Packages containing drone parts, radio receivers, signal boosters for cellphones, as well as video transmitters and rifle scopes were intercepted in May, and the Border Crossing Authority seized several varieties of drones.

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    Tags:
    Drone, Fighter jet, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Hamas, Gaza Strip, Israel
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