By Gil Ronen
The IDF suspects that the small UAV intercepted Saturday morning by IAF jets over the northern Sinai was launched by Iranian proxy militia Hizbullah. The drone may have been searching for targets for Iranian attacks.
The defense establishment has been looking at the fragments of the UAV, which fell in the area of southern Mount Hevron. According to reports, Israel initially suspected that it was launched from Sinai, but by Saturday evening, military sources said the military investigation showed the UAV had flown southward along Israel’s Mediterranean coast before turning east over Gaza and heading into Israeli airspace. It is believed to have been launched from Lebanon.
If this becomes the final conclusion of the investigation, the apparent culprit behind the launch would be Hizbullah. The drone could have been collecting and transmitting information on possible targets for a missile hit by Hizbullah, Iran, or both.
The initial investigation indicated that the UAV is similar to UAVs used by Iran.
Hizbullah uses both Iranian-made and Russian-made UAVs.
The IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, has convened a special session of top officers to discuss the proper retaliation for the UAV infiltration.
The IAF’s Aerial Monitoring Unit identified the UAV, which was not armed and probably served only for intelligence purposes – collecting data about IDF bases and the IAF’s operational abilities.
The UAV is believed to have been equipped with cameras that transmitted the images they captured onward to receivers located outside of Israel