A Hezbollah drone from Syria breached Israeli airspace Sunday, and despite efforts from Israel’s missile defense forces and air force, the drone escaped back across the border.
All three of Israel’s attempts to shoot down the unmanned vehicle failed, according to reports from the Jerusalem Post. Israeli Defense Forces launched two ground-based Patriot missiles, but both missed the target. Then, an Israeli fighter jet launched a missile from the air, but that attack also failed and the drone escaped back across the Syrian border.
Hezbollah, a Lebanese terrorist organization that has fought for the Syrian government for the past several years, claims the drone made it back across the Syrian border safely. The Israeli military has not confirmed the drone’s mission or who launched it. Hezbollah independently claimed credit for the drone and said it successfully completed its mission, the Jerusalem Post reports.
Israeli officials claim they detected the drone before it breached their airspace, and never lost track of the machine as it flew over the northeastern Golan region Sunday evening, according to a statement from the Israel Air Force.
“The aircraft was detected prior to entering the nation’s territory and was fully tracked by the Israel Air Force,” the statement said, reported by Defense News. “From the initial investigation, it was found that three intercept attempts took place as per procedure. No hit of the target was identified.”
Experts say that Sunday’s incident raises concerns about Israel’s ability to defend airspace against every type of flying vehicle. “Today’s event was a glimpse of things to come in the event of a major conflict,” Tal Inbar of the Fisher Institute for Strategic Air and Space Studies told Defense News.
“In future conflicts, it will be a huge challenge for even the most advanced air defenses to discriminate from all the types of vehicles that will fill the skies,” Inbar said.(RELATED: DoD Scrambles For Ways To Fight Armed ISIS Drones)
Israel used the U.S.-made Patriot missile defense system to shoot down a Syrian jet that flew half a mile into Israeli airspace in 2014.
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