IDF Shoots Down Hamas Drone in Midst of Security Drill

YERUSHALAYIM -
A drone with video camera.
A drone with video camera.

IDF forces on Tuesday afternoon shot down a Hamas drone that was flying near the Gaza coast as Israel conducted a major security drill. An IDF spokesperson said that the drone had been under Israeli observation from the moment it was launched. The drone did not enter Israeli airspace. The IDF said that it would not allow any violations of rules against use of Gaza airspace.

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis entered their secure rooms and neighborhood bomb shelters Tuesday morning as sirens sounded throughout the country, part of a major nationwide security drill. The drill, which began Sunday and is set to end Wednesday, is designed to test security systems affecting the civilian population, and to ensure their quality and readiness. Involved in the drill are IDF soldiers, Home Front Command officials, rescue workers, local law enforcement, and officials of local authorities.

Sirens sounded in different regions of the country consecutively Tuesday morning, and on Tuesday evening a nationwide siren will send Israelis to their shelters once again. When the siren sounded Tuesday morning, traffic came to a halt on many roads, as drivers followed instructions to take cover in nearby buildings or, if there were no buildings nearby, to protect themselves by opening their car doors and squatting down between the door and the vehicle itself.

Among those taking shelter was President Reuven Rivlin, who with his staff entered the safe room at the President’s residence in Yerushalayim. “We are a strong country and society, but with that we must realize that we face dangers. In order to enable the IDF to deal with these dangers, we citizens must follow the instructions of security officials, including in important drills like this.”

Commenting on the drill, National Security Council chairman Amos Yadlin said that “Israel has good solutions for effective defense against missile attacks. Hezbollah is the most advanced military power that Israel faces today. They do not constitute a mortal danger to Israel, but they are a strategic danger. We must be prepared for this. We will beat Hezbollah, but it will be a more difficult battle than it was in 2006.

“Hezbollah has thousands of missiles aimed at Israel,” Yadlin added. “The solution to those missiles are not only the various antimissile defense systems, like Iron Dome, but also early-warning systems that provide citizens with good opportunities to defend themselves passively by entering secure areas. But make no mistake, the next war with Hezbollah will be won by offensive strategies, not defensive ones.”