IDF shoots down Gaza drone flying near border fence

TV report says the small drone had crossed over the border and was brought down in Israeli territory

Illustrative: An Israeli drone in flight over Gaza (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Illustrative: An Israeli drone in flight over Gaza (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Israeli military troops shot down a small drone as it flew near the border fence in the southern Gaza Strip Saturday evening, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The drone, which was not carrying any explosives or otherwise dangerous materials, was taken in for review.

Channel 12 news reported that the drone had flown over the border before being shot down and that troops found its remains in Israeli territory. An army spokesperson could not confirm the details of the TV report.

Last month the army shot down two drones in Gaza in separate incidents.

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 followed a rare quiet weekend along the Gaza border, where for the second week in a row Friday protest marches were called off. The move — being only the fourth time the weekly demonstrations were canceled since they began in late March 2018 — was seen as marking an attempt by Gaza’s Hamas rulers to avoid fresh confrontation with Israel.

Illustrative: Israeli army jeeps patrol on the border with the Gaza Strip on October 17, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Protests were also canceled on the previous weekend in the wake of a 48-hour flare-up between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group.

The High National Commission for the March of Return and Breaking the Siege, which includes representatives of Gaza-based terror groups and political factions, said the protests were canceled this week to allow “the Palestinian people to continue to provide assistance to family members of martyrs and wounded persons and those whose homes were damaged in the Israeli aggression.”

An unconfirmed report in the pro-Hezbollah al-Akhbar newspaper Friday said the committee responsible for organizing weekly protests was discussing whether to reduce the frequency of the demonstrations “to once a month or during national occasions,” according to a source in the committee.

Israel and Islamic Jihad engaged in a 48-hour flare-up on November 12-13 after the IDF killed Baha Abu al-Ata, a top commander in the terror group. During the escalation in tensions, the terror group fired some 450 rockets and mortars at the Jewish state, which responded with many retaliatory strikes in Gaza.

Unlike in previous rounds of fighting, the Hamas terror group stayed on the sidelines, and Israel avoided hitting it.

Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.

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