Patriot anti-missile battery deployed to Mount Carmel

Move follows drone’s incursion into Israel; experts believe Hezbollah has ‘dozens’ of UAVs

Yifa Yaakov is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

A US Army Patriot Missile launcher (photo credit: US Army/Wikipedia)
A US Army Patriot Missile launcher (photo credit: US Army/Wikipedia)

Two days after the IDF shot down a drone suspected to have been sent into Israeli territory by Hezbollah, the Israeli Air Force deployed a Patriot missile battery to Mount Carmel, in the Haifa area.

The Patriot system is equipped with a sensitive radar that can pick up even the smallest aerial vehicles, IDF sources told Channel 10 news, which noted that the IAF prefers to engage enemy aircraft with fighter planes and not surface-to-air missiles.

Army officials said Monday’s deployment of the US-made ballistic missile defense system was a routine and ordinary move.

On Saturday afternoon, a foreign drone penetrated deep into Israeli airspace, flying for half an hour before it was intercepted by the IDF.

Since 2004, the Islamist terrorist organization Hezbollah, based in southern Lebanon, has sent drones into Israel on several occasions. In 2006, the IDF shot down a drone in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Haifa.

Also on Monday, Channel 10 quoted military intelligence experts as saying that Hezbollah possessed dozens of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) of the type shot down by the IDF on Saturday.

According to the report, the terrorist organization has upgraded some of the drones — said to be Russian-made — in order to enable them to carry explosives.

“It is now clear to the IDF that Hezbollah knows how to operate UAVs long-distance, and if it knows how to do so for general purposes it will know how to do so for purposes of terrorism,” the news channel quoted sources in the IDF as saying.

The sources added that the UAVs were relatively old-fashioned models.

 

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