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The IDF shot down a foreign drone that had penetrated deep into Israeli airspace on Saturday afternoon.
After an initial investigation, military officials said the unmanned aerial vehicle did not come from the Gaza Strip, leading the army to consider the possibility that it originated in Lebanon. Hezbollah has flown drones into Israeli airspace a few times in the past, though not for several years.
IDF Spokesperson Yoav Mordechai said that the Israeli Air Force was able to identify the unmanned aerial vehicle while it was flying over the Mediterranean, and that the IAF stayed close to the drone throughout its flight over Israel until the decision was made to shoot it down in the northern Negev desert.
Several Hezbollah drones have crossed over into Israeli airspace in recent years. In November 2004, the Islamist group flew a reconnaissance drone, the “Mirsad 1,” into Israel for the first time. The drone flew over the Galilee before returning to Lebanese airspace, and was not shot down by the IDF.
In April 2005, the group flew another “Mirsad” drone into Israel airspace; this one, too, was not intercepted.
In summer 2006, during the Second Lebanon War, the IDF shot down a Hezbollah drone over the Mediterranean Sea, near Haifa.
In 2010, Israeli Air Force shot down an apparently unmanned balloon that flew over the Dimona nuclear reactor.