Iron Dome intercepts Hamas drone flying over Gaza — 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.

A cloud of smoke is seen over the Gaza Strip, after the Iron Dome was reported to have intercepted a drone, March 22, 2023 (Social media)
A cloud of smoke is seen over the Gaza Strip, after the Iron Dome was reported to have intercepted a drone, March 22, 2023 (Social media)

The Iron Dome air defense system shot down an unmanned aircraft belonging to the Hamas terror group flying over the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces said.

According to the IDF, the drone did not enter Israeli airspace, adding that the interceptor missiles were fired at the device while it was over Gaza.

The drone “did not pose a threat to civilians in the area surrounding the Gaza Strip,” the IDF added.

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

Israel typically does not interfere when Hamas conducts drone test flights, only when they are being flown out of the Strip. It was not immediately clear why it did so this time and the IDF provided no explanation.

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.

Last May, the IDF shot down a drone over the Strip, and before that in November 2021, the IDF shot down a Hamas drone that was flown out to sea.

Last month, the IDF launched Iron Dome interceptor missiles at what it thought was a drone over the Gaza Strip. The military later walked back on its claim of intercepting the device, and said it remained unclear if there had actually been a drone or other aerial target that needed intercepting.

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