JERUSALEM Feb 23 An Israeli fighter jet on
Thursday shot down a drone belonging to the Islamist group Hamas
that had taken off from the Gaza Strip, the military said.
The interception prevented "an immediate threat of
infiltration" into Israeli airspace and the drone fell into the
Mediterranean sea, the military's statement said.
No Hamas comment was immediately available.
In December, Hamas, which controls Gaza, blamed Israel for
killing one of its drone experts in Tunisia. Israel had no
Israel has in the past voiced concern that armed groups in
Gaza and Lebanon would use drones carrying explosives inside its
borders in a future war. Hamas and other Islamist militias have
fired thousands of rockets at militarily superior Israel in
previous conflicts but have made scant use of drones.
The last Israeli interception of a drone that took off from
Gaza was in September. During the 2014 Gaza war, a U.S.-supplied
Israeli Patriot missile destroyed an unmanned Hamas aircraft
over the southern Israeli port city of Ashdod.
Israel is itself a world leader in drone technologies and
has used the vehicles extensively in combat.
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Jeffrey Heller, Larry