The drone that Israel downed above the Gaza Strip on Tuesday was developed by Hamas’ Azz a-Din Al Qassam Brigades with Iranian know-how, a top Gaza militant with connections to Hamas told Breitbart Jerusalem.
Early on Tuesday, the Israel Air Force intercepted a drone that flew along the coastline. A spokesperson said it was shot down before it crossed into Israel, adding: “We will not allow any infringement of our airspace and will foil any attempt to do it.”
The drone is the fruit of a years-long project on which Hamas militants have been working in conjunction with Iranian experts, the source told Breitbart Jerusalem. In 2014, during the last Gaza conflict, Hamas tested a prototype and, following the ceasefire, showcased photos of Israeli outposts and military targets that were taken by it.
The vessel intercepted on Tuesday was an improved model on a pilot mission, the source said, adding that Hamas officials were taken aback by its quick discovery by the IAF.
He said that Hamas relies on drones as the basis of its future military actions, after Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system and its efforts to counter the threat posed by underground tunnels have stymied other attack methods.
The source said that barring a short hiatus during the height of the Syrian crisis, Iran has been deeply involved in developing the drones and training their operators. Training sessions, he said, took place in Iran, Malaysia and other places in the Middle East.
The source said that Iran and Hamas’ military wing are likely to increase their cooperation in the wake of a two-year rupture against the backdrop of the Syrian civil war, at the beginning of which Hamas criticized Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Iran’s close ally.