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Published on Aug 18, 2014
Israel says it shot down a Hamas drone on Monday in what’s reported to be the first use of an unmanned aircraft by the Islamist organisation.
The Israeli Defense Force says the drone was flown from Gaza, a sliver of land sandwiched between Israeli and Egyptian territory. A recent Hamas video showing a drone in flight, and the IDF’s the downing of one marks “the first reported deployment of an unmanned aircraft by Palestinian militants and a possible step up in the sophistication of their arsenal, although it was not clear whether it was armed,” Reuters reported.
Israels Iron Dome missile defence system detected the aircraft which was then brought down by a US-made Patriot missile.
The aircraft is said to be a variant of the Iranian-made Ababil-1. It has a maximum altitude of just over 4,000 meters and a top speed of around 300 kilometers per hour. It is roughly 2.9 meters long and can carry a missile or camera payload of up to 45 kilograms.
The Reuters report continued: “[Hamas’] rocket attacks have been regularly intercepted but more than half a dozen Israelis have been wounded since the start of the week-old offensive. Gaza health officials say Israeli air strikes have killed 180 Palestinians and wounded 1,390, most of them civilians, in the densely populated enclave.”