An Israeli F-16 warplane on Thursday shot down a suspicious object, apparently a balloon, that flew in a forbidden area over Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor, a security official said.
"It definitely flew over Dimona, although we are still trying to determine what that entailed and the military is now handling the matter," the official said.
A military spokeswoman said an Israeli warplane "shot down a suspicious flying object, probably a balloon, in southern Israel". Israeli media reports said the balloon was unmanned but powered by an engine.
In October 2009 IAF fighter jets were scrambled to escort an ultralight plane that veered off the permitted flight zone near the Dimona nuclear research center and got too close to the sensitive site.
The jets forced the plane to land near Arad.
Construction on the Dimona reactor began in 1958, and it became operational in 1963.