Israel tackles mystery of drone's mission
JERUSALEM — The day after an unidentified drone penetrated Israeli airspace and was shot down by the Israeli air force on Saturday, speculation continued about the origin of the small craft and its mission.
According to statements from the Israeli military, the drone was spotted before entering Israeli airspace and remained under surveillance of ground and air forces until it was shot down in the northern Negev, a relatively remote area chosen to avoid damage to civilian areas.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the military's response and said Israel would continue to protect its “land, sea and air borders.” The drone entered Israeli airspace along the country's southern Mediterranean coast. The army does not believe it was launched from the Gaza Strip despite emerging from the direction of the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave. Theories abound as to the make and mission of the drone, described by Israeli media as sophisticated.
“The immediate suspect is Hezbollah,” according to one theory published in Haaretz. The Lebanese-based, Iran-backed Shiite Muslim militia is believed to have used drones against Israel before, although coming from the south presents a twist. Another commentator on the website ynetnews.com raised the possibility that it was headed toward Dimona, site of Israel's nuclear reactor, to photograph the area, and that this was a message from Iran, testing Israel's capabilities.
Hezbollah has not commented officially, nor have other groups. Israeli media reported on Sunday that Iranian news coverage of the incident had a “jeering tone,” commenting that the infiltration exposed Israel's weakness.
The army was pleased with its response time and procedure and called the interception an “operational success,” but questions were raised about permitting the drone to spend at least 20 minutes in Israeli airspace before downing it. Asked what kind of images it might have transmitted back to its operators in the meantime, former chief of staff and air force commander Dan Halutz told Israeli radio that it was probably nothing that couldn't be seen on Google Earth.
Air force and intelligence crews collected the wreckage from the site of the interception and continue to piece together who sent the drone and why.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Boko Haram kills dozens, prevents hundreds voting in Nigeria
- Antarctica yields life in extremest of conditions, so what about on another planet?
- News Alert
- German pilot visited glider field near crash site as a child
- Russians blame Western sanctions for recession fed by oil price drop
- Iran poses top threat to Mideast stability, Israeli consul general says
- Copilot’s friends doubt Germanwings crash intentional
- Veterans return to Iwo Jima for 70th anniversary of World War II battle
- Alone at controls, Germanwings co-pilot sought to ‘destroy’ the plane
- Putin’s sure Russia wins tug-of-war with West
- Airstrikes intensify in Yemen as Egypt, Saudis consider ground forces