IDF to Use Drones for Targeted Killings in Yehudah and Shomron

Illustration of a drone in flight. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

Commanders in Yehudah and Shomron have been given the green light to use armed drones in order to carry out targeted killings of Palestinian terrorists with the approval of IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi.

According to sources, commanders are allowed to now use the platforms not only as cover and intelligence for forces during operations but to carry out strikes should armed gunmen be identified as posing imminent threats to the troops.

The order comes as Israeli security forces have encountered a significant rise in shooting attacks and massive gunfire during arrest raids, specifically in the northern Shomron cities of Jenin and Shechem.

On Wednesday, four Palestinians were killed during an arrest raid that saw heavy gunfire targeting troops who had entered Jenin’s refugee camp to arrest Abd al-Rahman Hazem, the brother of the terrorist who killed three Israelis, Hy”d, in Tel Aviv in April.

Kochavi later met with Central Command chief Maj.-Gen. Yehuda Fuchs and Yehudah and Shomron Division commander Brig.-Gen. Avi Blot and was presented with an updated assessment of the region.

During the meeting, the use of the aerial platforms was discussed by the senior officers.

It’s believed that the order was given as the continued violence threatens to drag Israel into a more extensive operation in the northern Shomron, similar to Operation Defensive Shield in 2002.

Speaking to Army Radio on Thursday morning, Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev said that while “no one has an interest in launching a large-scale operation,” should the situation continue to deteriorate “it can happen.”

Israel is “making targeted efforts and countermeasures” in an attempt to prevent such a scenario, Bar-Lev said, adding that “the possibility that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad could join in from the Gaza Strip should we launch an operation will not deter us.”

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