Palestinians Say They Downed Israeli Drone Flying Over Gaza; Israeli Army Denies

Report comes several days after Hamas said it took down an Israeli drone that was on a mission in southern Gaza, an incident the IDF confirmed and is investigating

The border between Israel and Gaza, September 2019.
Ilan Assayag

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) announced that it downed an Israeli drone that had flown over the Gaza Strip earlier on Saturday evening. The Israeli military stated in response to Palestinian reports that it was not aware of such an incident. 

Sources in Gaza told Haaretz that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are looking into the incident. The sources said that a drone was downed over Khan Younis, but that there were indications that it was an Iranian-manufactured aircraft that was operated by Islamic Jihad. PFLP forces fired at it because they mistook it for an Israeli drone, the sources added. 

Neither Hamas nor Islamic Jihad commented publicly on the incident.

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A fire that broke out in a field in the southern Israeli city of Sderot and was caused by rockets launched from Gaza, September 2019.
Eliyahu Hershkowitz
Haaretz Weekly Ep. 39Haaretz

On Tuesday, an Israel Defense Forces drone fell in southern Gaza. Hamas said that it downed this drone while it was carrying out an operation, and that it managed to unveil the details of the drone's mission.

According to Hamas, the unmanned aerial vehicle was downed east of Rafah at 1:15 A.M., and was equppied with sophisticated cameras. The Israeli military said that they were investigating the incident. 

Tensions along the southern border have spiked in recent weeks. On Wednesday, Israeli army jets struck northern and central Gaza in retaliation for rocket fire that was aimed at Israel.

The IDF struck 15 terror targets after two rockets from the coastal enclave were launched toward the southern Israeli cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was addressing crowds at an election campaign rally. Both rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. 

Earlier that day, Israeli soldiers spotted several Palestinians who breached the border fence between Israel and Gaza. The army stated that the Palestinians took a box that was likely empty and returned to the Strip. Prior to that, firebombs were hurled from Gaza toward Israel and shrapnel hit a house in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, causing slight damage. In response, the Israeli army shelled two Hamas posts in northern Gaza.