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IAF Shoots Down Drone from Lebanon off HaifaSalem-News.com
The drone flew southwards along the Lebanese coastline when it came under the observation of the IAF.
(TEL AVIV Jerusalem Post) - F-16 shoots down vessel over Mediterranean; not clear whether drone was armed; Netanyahu: Israel views breach gravely.
The Israeli Air Force shot down a Hezbollah drone over the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday off the coast of Haifa.
The drone was picked up by Israeli air defenses shortly after 1 p.m., and F-16 aircraft and combat helicopters were scrambled to intercept it.
Simultaneously, drama unfolded in the skies of northern Israel, as an air force helicopter carrying Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on a visit to a Druse village in the western Galillee was forced to land after pilots were informed of the drone.
The hostile craft flew southwards along the Lebanese coastline when it came under the observation of the IAF.
As it flew around eight kilometers off the coast of Haifa, IAF Chief Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel gave the order to destroy the drone, and an F-16 dispatched a missile, blowing up its target at an altitude of six thousand feet, IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai said.
It was not immediately clear whether the drone was armed or not. The IDF was searching for the remains of the drone in the Mediterranean.
"Israel is prepared to deal with any threat posed from Syria or Lebanon in the air, land or sea," Netanyahu said afterwards.
He added that he views "with utmost severity the attempt to breach our borders. We will do what it takes to defend our citizens." Netanyahu made the comments during a tour of the Druse village of Kfar Julis.
The incursion marked the second such violation of Israeli airspace in the past six months. The IAF shot down a drone sent from Lebanon by Hezbollah over the Negev in October 2012. The drone did not carry explosives and likely had been dispatched on an intelligence- gathering mission, as well as to test Israel’s air defenses.
Source: Jerusalem Post
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