On March 22, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) announced that the Iron Dome air defense system shot down a drone of the Hamas Movement over the Gaza Strip.
In a statement, the IDF said that the drone did not enter Israeli airspace.The Iron Dome’s Tamir interceptor missiles were fired at the drone while it was flying over Gaza. According to the statement, the drone did not pose a threat to civilians in the area surrounding the strip.
Palestinian news sources reported a large explosion over the southern Gaza city of Rafah. However, Hamas, the de-facto ruler of the strip, has not commented on the IDF’s statement, yet.
The military wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, possesses an arsenal of locally-made reconnaissance, combat and suicide drones.
The Iron Dome was originally developed to shoot down rockets. The system was first used to intercept a drone in May 2021, during an 11-day Israeli operation against Hamas and other Palestinian factions in Gaza.
This was the second drone to be shot down by the IDF over Gaza this year. The first was intercepted by the Iron Dome system on February 4.
Usually, the IDF does not intervene in the drone operations of Hamas or other factions as long as they are limited to the skies of Gaza. The Iron Dome is only activated when drones are being flown out of the strip towards nearby Israeli settlements or the sea.