IDF jets shoot down drone over Gaza Strip
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IDF jets shoot down drone over Gaza Strip

Military says aircraft was flying at an ‘irregular altitude’ over the Palestinian enclave

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

An Israeli Air Force F-15 takes off during the Blue Flag air exercise at the Ovda air force base, north of the Israeli city of Eilat, on November 8, 2017. (Jack Guez/AFP)
An Israeli Air Force F-15 takes off during the Blue Flag air exercise at the Ovda air force base, north of the Israeli city of Eilat, on November 8, 2017. (Jack Guez/AFP)

Israeli fighter jets shot down a drone that was flying at an “irregular altitude” over the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The military said fighter jets were scrambled when the aircraft was detected and they shot it down.

“An unmanned aircraft flying was detected flying at an irregular altitude over the Gaza Strip. IDF fighter jets were sent toward it and they intercepted it,” the army said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear who was operating the drone.

In general, the Israeli military does not interfere with drones flying over the Gaza Strip unless they approach the border or fly at especially high altitudes.

The incident came after a series of false alarms around Gaza in which rocket sirens were apparently triggered by terror groups’ training exercises in the coastal enclave.

On Sunday, rocket sirens sounded in the community of Kibbutz Erez just north of the Gaza Strip in a false alarm.

And last Thursday, a more serious incident occurred in which Israeli troops unnecessarily fired at least two Iron Dome interceptor missiles, apparently after misidentifying two rocket launches from the Gaza Strip that were directed out to sea as heading toward Israel.

Illustrative: Balloons carry a makeshift drone-shaped object over the border with Israel east of Gaza City, after it was set loose by Palestinians during a protest by the fence, on March 22, 2019. (Said Khatib/AFP)

Also last week, Israeli forces brought down a drone as it flew near the border fence along the Gaza Strip.

That drone was detected in the area of the southern Gaza Strip and “was brought down by IDF troops,” the army said in a statement.

The army did not give details on the size or design of that drone, or how it was stopped.

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