Monday's crash is the latest in a series of crashes over the past several years on the northern border, Gaza and the West Bank. Just last Thursday, another Skylark crashed near Bethlehem before being recovered by the IDF.
In May, a Skylark crashed in Lebanon near the village of Ayta ash Shab during the course of operations. At the time, the IDF issued a statement claiming no classified information had been compromised.
Similarly, last March, another Skylark crashed in the northern Gaza Strip near the Shuja'iyya neighborhood. Several days later, the IDF issued a statement claiming that the crash was the result of a human error and that no "security damage" was caused.
The Skylark—manufactured by Elbit systems—is the smallest drone currently in service with the IDF. It is utilized primarily by the Artillery Corps for tactical reconnaissance.
According to a senior IDF officer, "The majority of crashes are caused by technical failures and that appears to be the case with this particular crash as well. A technical failure can be caused by a particular component flaw or the engine.
"People need to understand this is a very basic aircraft, certainly relative to the incredible things it can do. The system is very widely used and every incident such as this is investigated thoroughly by the IDF and the manufacturer to reduce the amount of failures."
The officer added that the ratio of crashes to flight hours as estimated by the IDF and the manufacturer is not yet available. This is in part due to the fact that in the past year, there has been a 20% increase in flight hours of the UAV every month.
Skylarks record thousands of flight hours each year and the Artillery Corps plans to increase usage of the UAV.
In regards to fears of technical information or classified intelligence falling into enemy hands when the drone crashes, the Skylark has its own security features. Not only does the drone not retain intelligence information (which thus cannot be recovered by an enemy), it also cannot be operated without a special mechanism in the possession of the UAV's handlers.
"There is no value to the enemy who found a drone in its territory, except for a mental 'achievement,' just as Hamas operatives photographed and distributed pictures of them with the components of the drone that crashed in the Gaza Strip several times," said the IDF officer. "In all cases, the technical failures caused the drone crash, and not the human factor."