Suspected Hezbollah drone shot down by IDF near Haifa

( The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) used F-16s and Israel Air Force helicopters to shoot down a drone approaching the coast of the northern city of Haifa from Lebanon on Thursday. The Hezbollah terrorist organization is suspected of sending the drone. After shooting the drone down at about 6,000 feet, the IDF navy searched for its wreckage in the water.

Click photo to download. Caption: The Israeli air force shot down a drone from Lebanon near the coast of Haifa Thursday. Credit: Deror Avi via Wikimedia Commons.

The IDF said in a statement on the incident that it "thwarted the penetration of an unmanned aircraft into Israeli territory." The Times of Israel, citing a military source, reported that drone "was apparently sent by Hezbollah."

"Shortly after 1 p.m. a drone was identified as it was flying north to south along the Lebanese coastline," the IDF said Thursday, according to Yedioth Ahronoth. "The air defense system tracked it for (several) minutes while it was still in Lebanese territory, and it was under surveillance throughout its flight until the interception. IAF planes were scrambled, as were combat helicopters, after it was determined that the aircraft was not friendly, and certainly not (an Israeli) aircraft. The Air Force commander authorized the interception."

Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon told Army Radio, "We're talking about another attempt by Hezbollah to send an unmanned drone into Israeli territory." The IDF, however, has not yet confirmed Hezbollah's involvement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement, "I see this attempt to cross into Israeli territory as a very serious issue. We will continue to do whatever is necessary to ensure the citizens of Israel remain safe."

Posted on April 25, 2013 .