Iron Dome downs drone flying from Gaza toward Israel — IDF

Military says aircraft didn’t enter Israeli airspace, posed no threat to civilians

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

This image shows the smoke trails from two Iron Dome interceptors fired at a drone over the Gaza Strip, August 20, 2023. (Courtesy)
This image shows the smoke trails from two Iron Dome interceptors fired at a drone over the Gaza Strip, August 20, 2023. (Courtesy)

The Iron Dome air defense system shot down an unmanned aircraft flying from the Gaza Strip toward Israel on Sunday morning, the military said.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the drone was heading from the southern part of the Strip toward Israeli airspace, and the interceptor missiles were fired at the device while it was still over Gaza.

The drone “did not pose a threat to civilians in the area surrounding the Gaza Strip,” the IDF said, adding that sirens were not activated in the towns close to the border “according to protocol.”

“From the moment it took off, air force systems followed its trajectory,” the IDF said.

Palestinian media reported a large explosion over the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

It was unclear if the drone belonged to the Gaza-ruling Hamas or another terror group.

Israel typically does not interfere when Hamas conducts drone test flights, only when they are being flown out of the Strip.

The Iron Dome was first used operationally to intercept a Hamas drone in May 2021, during an 11-day conflict with Palestinian terror groups in the Strip, known in Israel as Operation Guardian of the Walls. During the conflict, the system also mistakenly shot down an Israeli drone.

The IDF shot down drones over the Gaza Strip in March of this year, May 2022, and in November 2021.

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