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Israeli air force shoots down drone over Ashkelon

July 17, 2014 8:36 P.M. (Updated: July 18, 2014 4:18 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli air force shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle over the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on Thursday evening, in what is possibly the second Palestinian drone to enter Israeli airspace since hostilities began 10 days ago.

The military said in a statement that the air force "located and successfully intercepted an unmanned aerial vehicle which was identified near Ashkelon," adding that they "engaged the vehicle mid-flight with a 'Patriot' surface to air missile."

Although Israel regularly flies drones over the Gaza Strip -- both during war and peace time -- Palestinian groups have rarely used drones against Israel.

On July 14, Israeli forces shot down a Hamas drone over Ashdod, about halfway between Gaza and southern Tel Aviv.

The group's military wing al-Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for the drone, saying that it was not the first operation of its kind and that the drones had carried out "tasks" above the Israeli Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv.

Since Israel launched its most recent assault on Gaza 10 days ago, 236 Palestinians have been killed and more 1,700 injured.

One Israeli has been killed, meanwhile, and around six have been injured.
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