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IDF says troops downed Hamas drone from Gaza two days ago

Soldiers forced the device, possibly an Israeli drone captured by Hamas in 2018, to the ground on Wednesday; military says they only found where it landed later

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

A drone recovered by Israeli troops in southern Israel on August 13, 2021, which the military says was flown by the Hamas terror group into Israeli airspace from the Gaza Strip two days prior. (Israel Defense Forces)
A drone recovered by Israeli troops in southern Israel on August 13, 2021, which the military says was flown by the Hamas terror group into Israeli airspace from the Gaza Strip two days prior. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israeli soldiers brought down a drone that entered Israeli airspace from the Gaza Strip earlier this week, which the military said belonged to the Hamas terror group.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the device was downed on Wednesday, but troops only found where it landed on Friday.

It was not immediately clear how the military downed the device. In a photograph released by the military on Friday the drone does not appear to be damaged.

The IDF said troops spotted the device as it crossed into Israeli airspace and that it was “monitored throughout the entire event.”

“The IDF will continue to act to prevent any violation of the sovereignty of the State of Israel,” the military said.

The six-rotor drone appeared to be an Israeli device that fell in the Strip in 2018 as it was being used to break up large protests along the Gaza border.

The cross-border incident on Wednesday came on the same day as the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon launched its own drone into Israeli airspace. That device was also downed by the IDF, according to the military.

Israel and Hamas have maintained a tense ceasefire in recent months, following a major 11-day conflict in May, in which 13 people — 12 civilians and one soldier — were killed in Israel.

The Hamas-run health ministry reported 250 people killed in Gaza during the fighting, including many civilians. Israel maintains that most of those killed were combatants and that some Palestinians were killed by errant Hamas rockets.

In recent weeks, Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip have threatened to renew fighting if Israel does not take further steps toward lightening the blockade it maintains on the Palestinian enclave.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz has said Israel would only ease the blockade in exchange for the return of two Israeli civilians and the remains of two fallen IDF soldiers being held captive by Hamas.

Israel and Egypt have imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip since 2007, when Hamas took control of the enclave. Both countries say the measure is necessary to prevent the terror group from obtaining weapons and materials to build fortifications and tunnels. Most of the munitions used in May’s conflict were inferior, domestically produced arms.

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