An IDF observation balloon stationed near the Gaza Strip crashed on Friday after it was hit by a civilian crop duster aircraft. The pilots were not injured in the incident but the balloon has been taken out of service.
The incident occurred on Friday afternoon when a crop duster aircraft, which serves one of the communities in the region, apparently struck the cable that attached the balloon to the ground. As a result, the balloon drifted out of control and crashed near the Gaza Strip. IDF forces were called to the scene and they collected the balloon and the devices installed on it. The IDF is trying to return the balloon to operational activities as soon as possible.
The incident was relatively unusual and harmed the IDF's observation and monitoring capabilities in the area. The observation balloon is considered to be an advanced technology, providing a 360 degree view for a number of kilometers. The balloon provides a real-time situational picture to operations rooms in the region and identifies terrorist activities in the Gaza Strip.
The IDF said that Friday's incident is under review and that as of now there is no estimate as to when the balloon will return to activity.
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