Hamas launched an Iranian-made drone from Gaza that the Israeli Defense Forces destroyed as it flew along the southern border of Israel.
Hamas Iranian Drone Destroyed
An aerial drone from Gaza infiltrated Israel a short time ago. IDF forces shot it down with a Patriot missile above Ashdod.
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 14, 2014
This marks a dramatic escalation of the 6-day-old conflict, and threatens to sow death and destruction on the Israeli side of the border. Unlike the missiles Hamas fires, drones are generally harder to shoot down and could be used to launch multiple missiles. While there was no initial confirmation from either side about whether or not the drone was armed, it shows that Hamas does not intend to go down without mustering all its resources to wipe out Israel. Iran released video supposedly taken from the drones, according to YNet News, though there is no proof the video came from the Hamas Iranian drone destroyed by Israel. If the video did come from the Hamas Iranian drones, it indicates direct Iranian attacks on Israel. Later in the day, Hamas released a statement about the drone. According the the AP,
Hamas claimed it launched three drones at Israel on Monday, though the military insisted there was only one. Hamas said it has developed two types of drones — one for intelligence gathering and one for delivering munitions. It also said it lost contact with one of the drones and that the targets included the Israeli Defense Ministry compound in Tel Aviv. It was the first time the militant group publicly acknowledged it has drones in its arsenal.
Israel continues to muster its ground troops in what can only be assumed to be a planned ground incursion into Gaza sometime in the immediate future. FOX news cited the Times of Israel in saying;
On Monday morning, The Times of Israel reported that the IDF had declared an area just north of the Gaza Strip border to be a closed military zone. The significance of the declaration was not immediately clear, but the paper reported that ground forces were continuing to muster on the border. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the current Israeli operation could last for “a long time” and that the military was prepared “for all possibilities.” That includes a wide-ranging Gaza ground operation, which would likely cause heavy casualties in the coastal strip.
Stay tuned for further updates from the volatile Middle East conflict.
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