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Israel Says It Downed Drone as Gaza Death Toll Climbs

Mon, 14 Jul 2014 14:24:45 +0000

iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) -- The military wing of militant group Hamas claimed Monday that it sent homemade drones over Israel, after Israel said that it had shot down a Palestinian drone flying along the coast.

Hamas' Al Qassam Brigades boasted on Twitter that the drones carried out "three missions over Israeli military bases" and a "specific mission over Israeli war ministry." The group claimed to have domestically built three different kinds of drones for surveillance and bombing missions.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that Israel brought down was targeted with a Patriot missile, the Israeli military said, near the southern city of Ashdod. There’s no evidence the small downed drone was armed, a senior Israeli military intelligence official told ABC News, adding they believe it was launched for the benefit of media attention.

Israel has not commented on Hamas claims that more than one drone flew over Israel.

With a price tag of well over $1 million each, “using a Patriot to shoot down a UAV is like using a shotgun to kill a fly,” ABC News military consultant Steve Ganyard said.

Israeli drones are a constant presence in the skies over Gaza, buzzing loudly as they watch and attack targets in the Strip. But the Palestinian drone is a new turn in this conflict, now entering its second week.

More than 170 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched operation “Protective Edge,” the Ministry of Health in Gaza says, with around 1,300 wounded. On Sunday afternoon, a United Nations report said that 80 percent of those killed so far have been civilians and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate ceasefire.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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