Israeli Artillery Corps Drone Crashes in Gaza Strip

IDF says Skylark-1 spy drone suffered malfunction.

The Israeli army on Sunday denied Hamas claims that it had shot down an Israeli intelligence-gathering drone over the Gaza Strip.

According to the Israeli army, the Artillery Corps crashed due to a technical malfunction.

The drone, a Skylark 1 (called Rokhev Shamayim, or “sky-rider” in Hebrew), crashed to earth roughly 1 kilometer from Israel’s border, near Kibbutz Nahal Oz.

Al-Aqsa TV and the news agency al-Rai however report that Hamas militants shot down the Israeli drone. Israeli army officials said the incident was being investigated.

The small, self-propelled Skylark 1 drone, manufactured by Elbit Systems, is intended for use by battalion commanders and assists in gathering intelligence.

Weighing 7 kilograms and equipped with cameras, the drone operates differently to the army’s other combat equipment. Its operators are assigned to infantry battalions for specific missions in the same way that crews of the Oketz canine special forces unit operate.

Last May, a drone of the same model crashed near Gaza, also because of a technical error. The drone, which was operating in the southern Gaza Strip, lost its communications connection, and the combat troops searched for it for 12 hours. The drone was finally found near the border. A drone crashed in the Gaza Strip in 2010, as well after it suddenly began plummeting toward the Gaza Strip. Army troops found it and collected the pieces.