News / Middle East

Questions Remain About Hamas Drone

File - A Patriot missile during launch.
File - A Patriot missile during launch.

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There are still more questions than answers regarding a drone Israel claims to have shot down.

According to the Israeli Defence Forces Twitter account, “An aerial drone from Gaza infiltrated Israel a short time ago. IDF forces shot it down with a Patriot missile above Ashdod.”

An Israeli army spokesman told the New York Times that the drone had been “shot to smithereens” and that naval forces were looking for remnants along the coast.

While it is unclear if the drone was armed or merely for surveillance, it is believed to be the first case of a drone entering Israeli airspace from Gaza, which sits at Israel's southern border.

In 2012, Israel destroyed a drone factory in Gaza, and there have been reports of Hezbollah drones entering Israeli airspace from the north in recent years.

After the alleged shootdown, Hamas' Al Qassam Brigades took to Twitter to tout its drone capabilities, posting pictures and a video of what it said were its drones in flight. The authenticity of the postings could not be verified.

The group said its drones could carry out three kinds of missions: reconnaissance, bombing or simply crash into something.

Aviation blogger David Cenciotti said in a blog post that the drones in the Hamas pictures appeared to be of an Iranian-made Ababil 1.

“The aircraft depicted in the footage released by Hamas carries four AGMs [Air-to-Ground Missiles] even though it is almost impossible to say whether they are real weapons or just mock ups,” he wrote. “In fact, the group claimed on Twitter that the A1B carried out three missions over Israeli military bases and a specific mission over the Israeli war ministry but the fact the drone didn’t use any of the on board weaponry seems to suggest it does not have a real capability to use it.”

He added that it was “quite surprising” to see a Ababil 1  flying “almost undisturbed” over Gaza.

“It is weird such a small [drone] does carry weapons and surveillance sensors: all things that imply a significant payload and require larger airframes, more robust wings and engineering capabilities not believed to be in Hamas possession until today,” he wrote.

A Pentagon spokesman did not answer questions about the incident, saying they don’t discuss intelligence matters. An NSA spokesperson referred questions about the incident to the Israeli government.

Here is the video released by Hamas, which it says shows a drone in flight:

Additional reporting by VOA's Jeff Seldin and Mary Alice Salinas


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Comment Sorting
by: Not Again from: Canada
July 16, 2014 8:54 PM
The terrorist org Hamas, is using Iranian made/designed drones, various types of long range, Iranian made rockets, it gets Iranian financial support, it gets Iranian training support, in essence it is an Iranian proxy force. The military equipment used by Hamas clearly demonstrates, that Iran continues to support terrorist organizations.
There was a serious incident in Damascus, in which Pro Sunni Palestinians demonstrated against Assad, and the Hamas faction attacked them, the Hamas faction coperated with Assad thugs to very much wipe out the anti Assad demonstrators, the incident created an outflow of pro Sunni Palestinians from Damascus.
The Egyptian gvmt, was forced to seal off its Gaza border, because of Hamas' support for terrorists in the Sinai, all the way into Cairo and into Suez city.
Normal Palestinians are being forbiden, by Hamas, to take shelter as Hamas fires rockets into Israel from near/by their homes. In many of the pictures posted by the press, wide angle views, you can see Hamas' rockets rising between civilian apartment type of buildings.
Hamas started the war, refused the ceasefire arranged by Egypt, Israel had accepted the ceasefire and implemented it for about 5 hrs; Hamas took the opportunity to fire massive salvos of rockets into Israeli cities. It is a no win situation for the normal Gaza Palestinians in this destructive conflict, that their local leadership started, and does not want to end.
The situation for Israeli civilians is just as bad, but fortunately they have their rocket defence system and hardened shelters, otherwise Israel would have suffered massive casualties, due to the totally indiscriminate bombardment of Israeli cities.
This situation between Gaza/Israel once again shows how extended and intrusive are the destabilizing activities of the Iranian leadership; in my opinion, Iran may have even ordered? Hamas to start attacking Israel, so as to distract the West from the ongoing nuclear negotiations, to achieve an extension. The entire sit is very destabilizing.

by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
July 14, 2014 9:52 PM
Confirm if the Drones were made and supplied by Iran and if indeed supplied by the Iranians then Israel should attack Iran indirectly because iran has attacked Israel indirectly or create a proxy war by creating, training and equipping Iran's rival anywhere in the world.

by: Jack Attack from: Washington DC
July 14, 2014 5:03 PM
Iranian drones and long range missiles fired by terrorists of Hamas into a tier one ally of the United States. Why are we negotiating with Iran? How well did sanctions and negotiations work with North Korea? Hope is not a plan, find your fangs and take charge!

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