Upon entering Israeli airspace, the drone caused Red Alert sirens to sound, instigating rumors among local residents that a rocket had been fired at the communities in the Golan. The IDF responded to the potential threat by firing a Patriot Missile, which missed its target. The IDF then launched an additional Patriot, which also missed. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) then attempted to bring down the drone by launching an air-to-air missile, but that too proved ineffective.
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 17, 2016
Fortunately the drone was discovered to be unarmed, but the IDF did not allow themselves to become complacent.
“The IDF will not tolerate a breach of the State of Israel’s sovereignty,” the army said after the incident.
The IDF stated it did not know the origin or the mission of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), but believes it was a Russian-made drone, possibly sent by Hezbollah forces aiding Syrian President Bashar Assad in his civil war.
Anis al-Naqqash, a political analyst based in Lebanon and known for being a Lebanese guerrilla fighter, tweeted on Sunday that the drone had indeed been sent by Hezbollah. According to al-Naqqash, its mission was to photograph IDF maneuvers in the Golan, and that it was recalled safely after Israel tried to shoot it down.
Hezbollah official reveals Hezbollah operated this drone as part of an operation, emphasizes that the drone is safe https://t.co/czfdayg4j9
— Shiapulse (@shiapulse) July 17, 2016
Local residents were aware of unusual IDF activity in the sky above them. Shimshon Cook, a new immigrant from Texas, told Breaking Israel News that he wasn’t aware anything had happened.
“We happened to be driving in that direction, and saw some smoke in the sky. We didn’t even hear it. We didn’t know anything had happened until we got home and heard it on the news.”
Joshua Jacobs, also an immigrant from Texas, was equally unperturbed. “I was inside, and heard some booms. Then the jets flew overhead. I didn’t even go outside to look.”
Myra Sonick Kutscher explained the lackadaisical response of the residents. “I’ve been living here for 40 years. You get used to the booms, the strange puffs of smoke or clouds.The only time I notice it is on Shabbat (the Sabbath).”
A 14-year-old Israeli girl who had been hiking in the area at the time of the event was lightly injured by falling shrapnel from the Patriot Missiles.