Armed Drones Played Major Role in Recent Gaza Fighting

By Hamodia Staff

In this graphic montage picture released by Elbit Industry is seen the Hermes 900, a bigger version of the Hermes 450, which was much used by the IDF in the recent Gaza fighting.

YERUSHALAYIM – Armed drones played a major role in the IDF’s operations against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group in Gaza during the recent fighting, the military said in a special briefing on Wednesday.

The IDF released extensive video footage of drone strikes against PIJ targets in the Gaza Strip during Operation Breaking Dawn, the largest collection of such images published by the IDF since it began permitting media coverage of drone operations in combat last month.

According to military officials, drones conducted more than 2,000 hours of flight time in some 100 sorties during the 66-hours of conflict between August 5 and 8. Drones now  account for about 80% of the Israel Air Force’s total operation flight hours.

Dozens of targets were hit by the drones, mainly using the Elbit Hermes 450, which is operated by the Air Force’s 161st Squadron and the Artillery Corps unit 5252, from the Palmachim Airbase.

“The whole of Gaza is ‘covered’ with UAVs that collect intelligence 24 hours a day. From this intelligence, the Southern Command, the Gaza Division, the Air Force and other branches produce high-quality intelligence that turns into targets,” said Brig. Gen. Omri Dor, the commander of Palmachim.

“Some of these targets have been attacked by helicopters and fighter jets… and of course by our drones, which are also an integral part of the IDF’s offensive array,” he said.

In all, the IDF said it struck 170 targets, including two senior PIJ officials, 17 observation posts (six of which were manned by PIJ operatives), 45 rocket and mortar launching sites, eight military camps, eight weapon caches, six weapon production facilities, three targets related to the PIJ’s naval force and an “attack tunnel.”

Dor described some of the diverse uses of the drones during the operation:

“Starting with a very surgical event of finding a person or a single launcher and neutralizing it without causing collateral damage or harm to another person,” he said, to “excellent scanning abilities, which enables massive attacks [by fighter jets], as we have seen in recent times, and in recent years in general,” he said.

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