A secret Israel Air Force base has been filmed in recent months by remotely controlled drones flown over them, Yisrael Hayom reported Wednesday. The filming incidents have occurred numerous times, and the IDF has been unable to track down the parties that dispatched the drones. It is also not clear what the images taken by the drones are being used for.
The drones were noticed by soldiers on the base several times, and each time they reported it to their superiors, who attempted to identify the drones and track them – unsuccessfully, the report said, adding that the IDF has put a great deal of resources into tracking down the source of the drones.
Defense officials are investigating whether the filming was a chance incident, in which a citizen accidentally stumbled upon the base without realizing its significance, or whether it was targeted by hostile forces, based on intelligence regarding the base’s location and purpose. A senior security source said that even the former case was of great concern, because the images could leak out and compromise the security of the site.
Drones have become a major nuisance – if not a security and safety risk – with drones causing numerous shutdowns at civilian airports in recent months, as well as being used by terrorists to drop bombs on civilians. Hamas has been using drones to gather data on Israeli targets, security officials quoted in the article said, and it is believed that Hezbollah has also used drones for that purpose. The Defense Ministry has made neutralizing the drone threat a priority, and to that end, the IDF has purchased several drone detection systems made by Israeli arms firm Rafael. The Drone Dome has already been used successfully, most notably in a December incident at Gatwick Airport in London, when defense officials used the Drone Dome system to neutralize a drone that was otherwise undetectable.
In a statement, the IDF said that the Air Force was “leading a national commission on dealing with drones. As part of the commission’s work, various solutions and technological developments are being considered to deal with drones. The Air Force already has various methods and technologies that are operational today, at air force bases and other sites.”