IDF shoots down Egyptian drone over the Negev

Military drone monitoring Islamic State activities in the Sinai strayed into Israel.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

An unarmed Egyptian military drone monitoring Islamic State activity in the Sinai strayed over Israel and was shot down on Monday, IDF officials disclosed on Wednesday.

According to IDF officials, a technical problem caused the drone’s Egyptian operators to lose contact before it crossed into Israel. The IDF said the drone was monitored the entire time.

The drone was shot down by an Air Force F16 jet in the area of Mount Sagi, south of Mitzpe Ramon and a few km from the border. The Egyptians were notified ahead of the downing.

The IDF didn’t specify why the drone’s downing wasn’t disclosed right away. But Army Radio suggested the delayed announcement was due to Egyptian sensitivities over the matter.

The Israel-Egypt peace agreement of 1979 placed strict limits on the number of soldiers Egypt could station in the Sinai. In recent years, the  the two countries amended those restrictions so that the Egyptian military can combat Islamic State insurgents.

The IDF has boosted its air defenses amid concerns that Iran may launch missiles or drones in revenge for the assassination of Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei, a senior officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Khodaei was gunned down in his car in Tehran by assassins on a motorcycle.

Iran blames Israel for the assassination.