The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas says it has captured an Israeli spy drone over the besieged Gaza Strip.
According to Palestinian media reports on Sunday, the Hamas military wing Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades seized the multi-rotor aircraft (hexacopter) and extracted “sensitive information.”
“Al-Qassam Brigades was able to capture at dawn Friday, January 27, 2023, an Israeli drone that was on a special mission inside the Gaza Strip,” the Brigades said in a statement. “Our engineers were able to deal with the drone and extract important and sensitive information related to the occupation forces from it.”
Israel kept the disappearance of its drone secret until Hamas announced it had the UAV at its disposal.
An Israeli spokesperson admitted on Sunday that such a drone landed in Gaza during an operational activity last Friday.
Last week, Israel launched airstrikes on Gaza a day after killing at least 10 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, prompting the resistance to fire rockets at the occupied territories in retaliation. Israeli warplanes hit areas west and south of Gaza, including posts belonging to resistance, on Thursday night and Friday at dawn.
Israel withdrew its troops from Gaza in 2005. Two years later, though, the regime imposed a crippling blockade on the Palestinian territory after Hamas rose to power there. Ever since, Tel Aviv has waged three wholesale wars on the territory. Observers say the combination of the siege and military assaults is meant to render what is already the world’s largest open-air prison even more uninhabitable.
Over the past months, Israel has also ramped up attacks on Palestinian towns and cities throughout the occupied territories. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Palestinians have lost their lives and many others have been arrested.
More than 170 Palestinians, including at least 30 children, were killed across the West Bank and East Jerusalem last year. In January 2023 alone, well over 30 Palestinians, including five children, have been killed.
The United Nations marked 2022 as the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank in 16 years.