Israel has deployed a battery of Patriot surface-to-air missiles in the northern city of Haifa two days after an unarmed aerial drone was shot down by Israel’s air force, having entered Israeli air space.
The IDF is currently investigating the incident that took place on Saturday. The drone is said to have entered Israeli air space, having flown over the Mediterranean Sea via the Gaza Strip. It was tracked by two Israeli air force fighters and eventually shot down over a forested area near to the Negev desert. Despite its flight path over the Gaza Strip, Israel’s security establishment, according to reports, estimate that the drone was operated by Hezbollah and was launched from Lebanon in an apparent intelligence gathering exercise.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on the incident saying, “We will continue to defend our borders by sea, land and air to guarantee the security of our citizens.” Meanwhile, Defence Minister Ehud Barak said, “We take a severe view of the attempt to violate Israeli airspace and we will consider our response.”
Israel appeared to respond to the incursion yesterday by flying jets over southern Lebanon in a show of strength. In addition, Israel placed a Patriot anti-missile battery in the major northern city of Haifa. The Israeli army said that this was not an emergency measure and that such systems are periodically deployed in the area. Indeed, last April a Patriot battery was placed near Haifa’s university and similar systems were in place during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.