An Israel Air Force Patriot missile shot down an unmanned drone on Sunday afternoon that had entered Israeli airspace near the Syrian border town of Kuneitra.
As the Syrian civil war continues to spill over in the north, the IDF warns that it will not tolerate violations of the sovereignty of the State of Israel.
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), whose origin has yet to be determined, was intercepted in the skies above the Syrian-Israeli border in the same area that in recent days has seen several spillover incidents involving damage to Israeli property and the injury of several civilians.
Lt.-Col. Peter Lerner, IDF spokesperson, said the drone appeared to have belonged to the Syrian military and had flown accidentally into Israeli airspace.
“We will not allow any violations of our sovereignty or attempts to harm our citizens and soldiers in northern Israel, either intentionally or unintentionally,” stated Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.
It is not known whether the drone was carrying explosives or sent to photograph aerial images.
On Wednesday a total of six mortar shells from Syria landed in the Golan Heights in northern Israel, including one that wounded an IDF doctor at an observation post at the border. The same day, a tank shell injured an Israeli civilian and caused damage to a vineyard. Damage to vehicles was also reported.
IDF Responds with Air Strikes
In response, the IDF launched air strikes at Syrian military targets believed to be the source of the fire.
Last Sunday night five rockets were fired from Syria into the Golan Heights. No damage was reported. In June, in what appeared to be a deliberate attack by Syrian forces, a 15-year-old Israeli boy was killed when an explosive device was detonated as his vehicle passed near the border fence. Israel responded by striking nine targets inside Syria, according to its policy of holding the Syrian government responsible for any attacks or incidents originating from Syrian territory.
Last April, the IAF shot down a UAV belonging to Hezbollah over the waters off the northern city of Haifa. During this summer’s Operation Protective Edge, drones launched by Hamas were shot down over the coastal towns of Ashdod and Ashkelon, with the terror group releasing photographs of Israeli territory that they claimed were taken by the drones.
In 2012, an Iranian-made drone was shot down in the South Hebron Hills area of Judea. The IDF believes that Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah had ordered the deployment of the drone in order to photograph the Dimona nuclear reactor.
Author: Ze’ev Ben-Yechiel, Tazpit News Agency