Israeli military says it shot down drone from Gaza

The interception comes at the end of deadly week in only the latest flare up of violence between Israel and Hamas.
By Brooks Hays  |  July 14, 2014 at 8:47 AM
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ASHOD, Israel, July 14 (UPI) -- Israeli military officials said Monday its forces downed a drone sent from Gaza along its southern coastline near the city of Ashod. The rogue drone was apparently taken down by Patriot surface-to-air missiles.

"It was shot to smithereens," Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli army, told reporters Monday.

The military wing of Hamas claimed responsibility for the drone, claiming on its website it had sent a number of unmanned aircrafts into Israel on "special missions." No other reports of drones have yet surfaced, however.

Despite the changing technology, the story remains much the same. The interception comes at the end of a violent and deadly week in only the latest flare-up of violence between Israel and pro-Palestine group Hamas, which Israel regards as a terrorist organization.

Over the last six days, Hamas militants have launched 971 rockets into Israeli cities. But in the week since Israel launched "Operation Protective Edge," an effort to squash such attacks, no casualties have been reported. Israel's missile defense system has been effective at shielding the cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Many Hamas rockets prove inaccurate, landing in open area outside their intended target cities in Israel's south.

Israeli rockets have proven more deadly. On Sunday, Palestinian Health Ministry officials said 172 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli airstrikes so far.

Although there's not an official number for civilian casualties in Gaza, relief agency Defense for Children International reported at least 15 children were killed in Israeli airstrikes on Tuesday and Wednesday.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other international leaders continue to work behind the scenes, advocating for a cease-fire. But Israel's military has been vocal about its willingness to drag the conflict out for as long as necessary, and most experts believe Hamas is unlikely to resign until some sort of political victory, symbolic or otherwise, can be claimed.

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