Israel reportedly shot down a Hamas drone launched from Gaza on Monday, the first time it has encountered an unmanned aircraft being used in the conflict by militants.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Twitter that the drone was shot down near Ashdod by a Patriot missile. It is unclear whether or not the drone was armed.
An aerial drone from Gaza infiltrated Israel a short time ago. IDF forces shot it down with a Patriot missile above Ashdod.— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 14, 2014
Hamas, the Islamist group which runs Gaza, said its armed wing had sent several drones to carry out “special missions” deep inside Israel, Reuters reports.
Hours following the attack, Hamas’ Al Qassam Brigades said in a tweet that its engineers made “three types of unmanned drones.” The first type is for surveillance, second one for “dropping,” and the last type for “executing detonating missions.”
Hamas has released pictures and video on Monday of the drone shot down by the IDF over Ashdod.
Also Monday, Egypt offered a cease-fire plan to end a week of conflict between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip that has left nearly 200 people dead and more than 1,000 people wounded, reports The Associated Press via the Huffington Post.
The Foreign Ministry of Egypt announced the three-step plan at 9 a.m., Israeli time. Secretary of State John Kerry will arrive in Cairo for talks regarding the proposal of a cease-fire in Gaza.
Egypt Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri said there is “no alternative but return to the truce” of November 2012, adding that Egypt contacted all parties, including the Palestinian leadership, different Palestinian factions, and Israeli authorities in addition to Arab and international parties, AP reports.
Speaking at a White House dinner celebrating Ramadan, President Barack Obama said Israel “has the right to defend itself against what I consider to be inexcusable attacks,” bloomberg.com reports. He also said the “situation in Gaza reminds us again that the status quo is unsustainable.”
However, Economics Minister Naftali Bennett may vote against the Egyptian truce plan, telling Israel’s Channel 2 in an interview: “We can demolish them. Hamas is isolated internationally. We have this rare opportunity to bring them to their knees.”