Israel Shoots Down Drone

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 6 2012 4:54 PM

Israel Shoots Down Drone

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An Israeli army helicopter searches for the remains of an unarmed and unidentified drone

Photo by DAVID BUIMOVITCH/AFP/GettyImages

The Israeli air force shot down an unmanned aircraft shortly after it crossed into southern Israel Saturday, the military said. It’s not clear where the drone came from, reports the Associated Press. It marks the first time in at least six years a hostile aircraft has entered Israel’s airspace. The Israeli military released a video of what it said was the interception (available after the jump).

The drone was first spotted by military officials while it was above the Mediterranean in the area of the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by Hamas, points out Reuters. It is highly unlikely Hamas would be responsible for the operation and the “immediate suspect is Hezbollah,” points out a Haaretz analysis. An Israeli lawmaker wrote on Twitter that it was an "Iranian drone launched by Hezbollah."

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Hezbollah has launched drones into Israel in the past, including two that are believed to have been carrying explosives meant to detonate in central Israel. Although the drone was quickly shot down, it still traveled more than 15 minutes over southern Israel because officials had to wait for it to be far from population centers. The drone shot down Saturday is not believed to have been carrying explosives, points out Haaretz, noting it was likely gathering intelligence.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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