This is flipping awesome (the shooting down part):
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was identified penetrating Israeli airspace this morning, and was intercepted by the IAF at approximately 10:00 AM. IDF soldiers are currently searching the area where the drone was downed, in open areas in the northern Negev, to locate and identify the drone.
Here’s more info on it:
YNET NEWS – A few hours after two fighter jets shot down a small unmanned aircraft that penetrated Israeli airspace in the south Saturday morning, it is safe to say that an element operating in Lebanon under the auspices of Iran and with its support, apparently Hezbollah, activated the drone. The drone itself, which was downed in the south Mount Hebron area, was apparently made in Iran.
Operating a drone by remote control from such a long distance requires advanced capabilities, which Israel was not aware Hezbollah had acquired.
Hezbollah’s drones have infiltrated Israeli airspace in the past, from the north, but their activation did not require any navigation system. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that infiltrated Israel on Saturday did require such a system. The incident showed that the Air Force has the ability to detect and intercept drones at any stage of their flight.
The drone was apparently launched by Iran or one of its allies to test the IDF’s detection and interception capabilities, and perhaps even to search for specific targets in south Israel. The drone apparently began its flight in Lebanon and then headed in the direction of Gaza’s coastline after flying over the Mediterranean Sea. This route was chosen not only because it utilized the depth of the sea’s airspace, but also because Israeli UAVs regularly hover above Gaza.
The drone’s operators may have planned to take advantage of this fact in hopes of confusing Israel’s detection and interception systems. However, the drone was detected while it was still flying over the Mediterranean Sea and was downed a half-hour later over the south Mount Hebron area after IAF jets made certain it was not carrying any explosives and that its main mission was intelligence gathering.
There is no doubt that the operation is indicative of a high level of sophistication of the drone’s operators, who are apparently Hezbollah terrorists, and also of their plans to perhaps use similar Iranian-made aircraft in the future to destroy targets inside Israel. It is also clear that Hezbollah chose such a long route so that it would not be accused of sending the drone and risk Israeli retaliation.
In other words, Hezbollah tried to conceal the fact that it had sent the drone by selecting a long route that passed through the Mediterranean Sea. It wanted the drone to enter Israel near Gaza, perhaps in an attempt to place the blame on Hamas, which is currently considered hostile to elements that are loyal to Iran.
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