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Iron Dome intercepts suspicious aircraft over Gaza — IDF

Military says device didn’t enter Israeli airspace; unclear if it belonged to Palestinian terror groups

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 intercepted a drone, May 19, 2022 (screenshot: Twitter)
A cloud of smoke is seen over the Gaza Strip, after the Iron Dome intercepted a drone, May 19, 2022 (screenshot: Twitter)

The Iron Dome missile defense system shot down a “suspicious” aircraft flying over the Gaza Strip on Thursday, the Israel Defense Forces said.

According to the IDF, the device “was monitored throughout the entire incident” by the air force’s ground control. The military said the UAV did not enter Israeli airspace, adding that the interceptor missiles were fired at the device while it was over Gaza.

The army did not say if the UAV belonged to any of the Gaza-based terror groups, including Hamas.

The Iron Dome was first used operationally to intercept a Hamas drone last May, 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.

In November, the IDF shot down a Hamas drone that was flown out to sea. Israel typically does not interfere when Hamas conducts drone test flights, only when they are being flown out of the Strip.

Earlier Thursday the IDF fired Iron Dome missiles at an Israeli drone over the northern border with Lebanon due to mistaken identification. Those missiles missed their target.

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