הרחפן הצה"לי שנפל לידי חמאס ושימש להטלת אר.פי.ג'י על טנק
The IDF drone taken and used by Hamas
Photo: Yoav Zitun
The IDF drone taken and used by Hamas

Hamas raises stakes with weaponized drones

Alongside a diminishing number of riots along the Gaza border fence, there is a drop in the number of attempts by terror groups, to use weaponized drones to attack Israeli targets, and yet one incident marks a spike in both Hamas' capabilities and its audacity

Yoav Zitun |
Updated: 01.27.20 , 17:48
There were two separate incidents of weaponized drones infiltrating into Israel in an attempt to attack Israeli targets.
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  • Both occurred last May during an escalation in violence along the Gaza border.
    Islamic Jihad footage of a drone attack on an Israeli tank
    The first incident, which was captured on video later released by Islamic Jihad, involved a drone operated by the terrorist group infiltrating into Israel and attempting to drop an anti-tank missile on an IDF tank.
    The missile missed its target but the incident did demonstrate the organization's growing offensive capabilities.
    הרחפן הצה"לי שנפל לידי חמאס ושימש להטלת אר.פי.ג'י על טנקהרחפן הצה"לי שנפל לידי חמאס ושימש להטלת אר.פי.ג'י על טנק
    The IDF drone taken and used by Hamas
    (Photo: Yoav Zitun)
    The second incident that occurred that same month had remained shrouded in secrecy, until now. And for good reason.
    This incident involved a weaponized Matrice 600 drone, capable of carrying cargo weighing up to 20kg. This highly advanced drone once belonged to the IDF but was lost during an earlier operation in Gaza.
    Hamas forces located the drone, repaired it, took control of its systems, and attached a rocket-propelled grenade launcher to its hull.
    In the course of the fighting between the Gaza factions and Israel, the done was for the first time, used to infiltrate Israel for the purpose of launching attacks.
    A few minutes after it crossed over the border into Israeli territory, the drone's Hamas handler spotted tanks in a military base. The handler quickly attacked one of the manned tanks by dropping a grenade 100 meters (328ft) down on to the tank it failed to detonate.
    An IDF infantry unit stationed nearby spotted the drone and its attempted attack and shot it down.
    As with the Islamic Jihad attack, the drone's camera was on throughout the incident, but the Hamas operators chose not to release the footage.
    Attack drones originating from Gaza are effectively dealt with by both the Israel Air Force and the IDF Gaza Division, tasked with securing the border. Both concede that although drones do pose a certain threat, they are not as capable of inflicting damage to Israel as rockets and missiles launched from the strip or infiltrating terror squads are.
    Nonetheless, the use of these drones - especially those stolen from the military, indicates a shift in strategy and an increased capability by the Gaza terror groups determined to strike at Israel.
    First published: 17:39 , 01.27.20
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