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    Israel Shot Down a Drone Again

    Written by

    Derek Mead


    Screenshot of Israeli air force footage of a drone shot down last year.

    The Israel Defense Forces says the Israeli air force shot down down a drone cruising towards its coast sometime Thursday. Reportedly, the drone was about five miles off the coast of Haifa before it was shot down by a missile launched from an F-16.

    According to the Jerusalem Post, the drone had flown south from Lebanon and was putting along the coast about 6,000 feet up. Hezbollah has said that it owned the drone that was destroyed. An IDF spokesman said that the Israeli air force confirmed it was "hostile" before firing on it, although it's unclear whether the whether or not the drone was armed. Presumably, it was a fairly large craft considering that it was taken down by a missile and that Hezbollah flies drones around pretty often without being shot down.

    Of course, air-to-air drone takedowns aren't entirely new for Israel. Last year there was the rather high-profile case of Israel shooting down an Iranian drone reportedly flown by Hezbollah. Iran later claimed that its drone had relayed "sensitive pictures" before getting blasted out of the sky, which Israel dispute. In that case as well, it was unclear how big or sophisticated the drone was, but again, a drone has to be fairly large to be shot down by an F-16.

    And if we broaden our scope beyond F-16s dropping drones, Israel's battle against drones has been fairly widespread. Shortly after the reports of the Iran drone being shot down, Israel Defense Forces killed Hamas military leader Ahmed al-Jabari with a drone, and then blew up eight Hamas facilities thought to house Hamas UAVs, which the IDF said dealt "severe damage to Hamas's UAV infrastructure."

    At this point, a drone being shot down is a fairly minor blip in the news cycle. Individual losses don't matter in the drone war; they're cheap enough to not stress about, and without a pilot's life on the line, who cares how risky a mission is? The game of cat and mouse—drones gliding into protected airspace, and occasionally blown up by vastly more powerful fighter jets—shouldn't come as a surprise any more. Now, if Hezbollah starts equipping drones with bombs or, far more unlikely, drones start taking on fighters, then we can start freaking out about the drone war again.