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Israel shoots down unmanned drone aircraft

Israel's defense force is looking into whether the aircraft was being used for recon or a possible attack.

Israel shoots down unmanned aircraft Enlarge
Israel has shot down an unmanned aircraft over the Negev. (Uriel Sinai/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel's defense forces shot down an unmanned, unidentified drone aircraft that flew into its airspace Saturday morning, responding quickly to the first such airspace violation in six years, according to the Associated Press.  

AP today said the drone came from the Mediterranean Sea, but its exact origins remain unknown.

It may have come from the Iran-backed Lebanese Islamic militant group Hezbollah, which has violated Israeli airspace in the past, said AP, a scenario likely to further enflame tensions between the Islamic Republic and Israel over Iran's controversial nuclear program. 

However, there are conflicting reports over where the drone is most likely to have come from. Israeli media said it was not carrying explosives, according to AP

Israel's Lieutenant Colonel Avital Leibovich told AP today that the drone was picked up by surveillance as it flew over the Gaza strip and the Israeli military decided to shoot it down over the mostly uninhabited northern Negev desert area. 

An Israeli military spokesman said the aircraft was "intercepted" around 10:00 am on Saturday, according to Agence France Presse. A group of F16I fighter jets from the Ramon airbase flew alongside the unmanned plane for several minutes before shooting it down, the Jerusalem Post reported

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“We view the attempt to violate Israel’s airspace very gravely and we will consider our reaction,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Saturday, Bloomberg reported

Israel is currently investigating the incident. It remains unclear if the drone was sent for reconnaissance or a possible terrorist act, BBC News reported. 

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/121006/israel-shoots-down-unmanned-aircraft