Hamas drones said to enter Egyptian airspace

Egypt prevented from stationing effective anti-aircraft defenses under terms of peace deal with Israel

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

A Hamas drone paraded at a celebration marking the 27th anniversary of the founding of the terror group in 2014. (YouTube/RuptlyTV)
A Hamas drone paraded at a celebration marking the 27th anniversary of the founding of the terror group in 2014. (YouTube/RuptlyTV)

Hamas drones reportedly flew out of the Gaza Strip and into Egyptian airspace above the Sinai Peninsula several times last week as the Egyptian army stood by helpless to prevent the incursions.

Egyptian radar picked up three drones flying out of the southern Gaza Strip on numerous occasions, the Egyptian Al Osboa newspaper reported. The unmanned aerial vehicles penetrated as far as El Arish and Sheikh Zuweid, some 50 kilometers from the Egypt-Gaza border.

Border forces opened fire on the drones but couldn’t hit them because they were flying at an altitude of 750 meters (2,2250 feet), the report said. Under the terms of the 1979 peace deal with Israel, Egypt is not allowed to station any anti-aircraft weapons in the Sinai region, so its forces have been unable to prevent the Hamas activities.

Since Egypt’s military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, the authorities have accused Hamas of aiding jihadists who have waged a string of deadly attacks on security forces in the Sinai Peninsula.

At the end of February an Egyptian court ruled that all of Hamas — including its political wing — was a terror organization. The verdict came after an earlier decision that classified Hamas’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, as a terror group.

In December Hamas’s military wing launched a locally manufactured drone during a Gaza City march in honor of the founding of the group, prompting the Israel Air Force to summon jets to the area, but no shots were fired at the unmanned aircraft.

During the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, as IDF forces battled Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the terror group launched two drones that were both blasted out of the sky by IAF-launched Patriot missiles soon after they crossed into Israel.

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