IDF: We Won’t Allow Iran or Hezbollah a Foothold Along Border

YERUSHALAYIM -
A Patriot anti-missile battery is deployed in the northern city of Haifa, in 2013. (Reuters/Baz Ratner/File Photo)

The drone shot down by an IDF Patriot missile Tuesday afternoon was sent from Syria and was manufactured by Iran, the IDF spokesperson said Tuesday – and the IDF “will not allow the entry of Iranian or Hezbollah operatives into the Golan Heights, nor will we allow them to mass on the border,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “We will respond immediately to any such attempts,” the statement, as unconfirmed reports sad that the IDF had struck targets in Syria and Lebanon.

A Patriot missile successfully took down an unmanned aerial vehicle that appeared at the border of Israel along the Golan Heights. The missile shot down the drone while it was in the area of the border, and it fell inside Syrian territory, in the village of Ahmadia near the border.

The IDF spokesperson said that the army had been tracking the drone, which was launched from a military airport near Damascus. “The drone was flying in a buffer zone along the border and did not enter Israeli airspace,” the spokesperson said. With that, the IDF has raised the security level in the north, preparing for the possibility that another drone or missile will be fired at Israel. Golan residents said they were not aware of the drone or its takedown by the Patriot missile, but did notice a significant number of military jets flying over the border area.

This is not the first time drones from Israel’s northern neighbors have attempted to enter Israeli territory. Similar incidents occurred in April 2017 and July 2016. In both those cases drones attempted to enter Israeli airspace over the Golan, and in both cases Patriot missiles were dispatched to destroy them.

The army just completed its Or Hadagan military exercise in northern Israel, which officials considered a success. The exercise was the army’s largest in the past 19 years, and involved active divisions in addition to reservists, 20 different brigades (including infantry, armored, artillery, and regional), Combat Intelligence, special forces, the Israeli Air Force, the Israeli Navy, the Intelligence Directorate, the Home Front Command and many other units.

The exercise comes in the wake of increased activity by Hezbollah in Syria, where it has joined with Iran to bail out the government of Bashar al-Assad, as well as the terror group’s attempts to increase the amount of weapons and missiles it has in Lebanon. According to reports, Hezbollah may have as many as 100,000 missiles aimed at Israel in Lebanon.