Palestinian media published photos of Israel allegedly taken by a Hamas drone shot down earlier Monday. A Patriot missile defense battery executed its first interception since the early 1990s on Monday morning when it felled an unmanned aerial vehicle, launched by Hamas, over the skies of Ashdod.
Hamas claimed responsibility for the attempted attack and claimed that its members launched several UAVs from Gaza. Palestinian sources close to Hamas said "the aerial vehicles penetrated deep into Israel, more than 60 km away from Gaza."
Hamas said it has developed two types of drones - one for intelligence gathering, and one for delivering munitions.
It also said it lost contact with one of the drones and that the targets included the Defense Ministry compound in Tel Aviv. It was the first time the militant group publicly acknowledged it has drones in its arsenal.
A statement released by Hamas' military wing, Al-Qassam Brigades, said the UAVs that penetrated Israeli airspace were of the Ababil-1 variety, an Iranian-made model.
The statement claimed Hamas engineers developed three variants of the UAV – for reconnaissance, aerial bombing, and suicide missions.
Hamas claimed several UAVs took part in each wave of infiltration attempts.
The military wing admitted that they lost "contact with one of the aerial vehicles in the second sortie and another vehicle in the third sortie." One UAV was intercepted over the skies of Ashdod, but Hamas claimed its fleet had already captured footage of Tel Aviv: "We executed a number of maneuvers over the Kirya in Tel Aviv."
It is unclear whether the footage of Tel Aviv was filmed today or in the past.
Hamas launched an unmanned aerial vehicle towards southern Israel on Monday morning from the Gaza Strip, as militants continued to fire rockets on Israeli cities and towns. The latest weapon in the arsenal of the Gaza-based terrorist organization was intercepted by a Patriot missile defense battery deployed in central Israel.
Israeli Navy forces were deployed to search the area. The UAV infiltration attempt caused Code Red sirens to blare in the Ashdod area, though incoming rocket salvos meant the alarm continued ringing for over two hours. Code Red was sounded in Ashkelon, Ashdod, Netivot, Hof Ashkelon, and Sdot Negev Regional Council.
Hamas also attempted to scare Israelis by firing not just rockets but text messages. For example, one SMS claimed a Haifa chemical factory was under attack. No such incident took place.
Using the name SMSQASSAM, the terror group sent a number of messages attempting to fool Israelis and harm morale.
In another message, in Hebrew, the group "The stupidity of your leadership has turned all of Israel into a firing range, and forced Israelis to hide in bomb shelters. We will continue to bomb every place in Israel until all of our legitimate demands are completely met."