ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 138

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IAF fighter jet downs drone flying over Gaza

Military says craft did not cross into Israeli airspace and did not pose a threat; incident comes a day after suspected Iranian aircraft was shot down trying to enter from Syria

Technicians inspect an Israeli air force F-16 jet at the Ovda airbase near Eilat, southern Israel, Nov 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)
Technicians inspect an Israeli air force F-16 jet at the Ovda airbase near Eilat, southern Israel, Nov 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)

An Israel Air Force fighter plane shot down a drone flying over the Gaza Strip on Monday, the military said, adding that it had not represented a threat.

The army said that the drone “was identified in the skies over Gaza and was monitored the entire time by the air force until it was shot down.

“The craft did not cross into Israeli airspace and did not represent a threat at any time,” the IDF said, without giving any further details.

This marks the second time in recent weeks that the IDF has downed a drone over Gaza. On March 22, Israel used an Iron Dome interceptor to bring down a similar craft.

The incident comes a day after Air Force combat helicopters and planes downed an unidentified aircraft that appeared to have crossed into Israeli airspace from Syria, which Hebrew media said was believed by the military to be of Iranian origin.

Around an hour after that incursion, Syrian media reported explosions at an airport near the capital Damascus, but did not blame Israel. Syrian state media generally is quick to attribute airstrikes in the country to Israel and has repeatedly done so in recent weeks.

Tensions in northern Israel have escalated after a series of airstrikes in Syria, a terror attack that is believed to have been carried out by an intruder from Lebanon, and threats between Israeli officials and Iran. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday warned Iran and the Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah that Israel would not tolerate any efforts to harm the country or its citizens.

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