- Hamas Says Downed Drone as Israel Threatens New War
Hamas says it has shot down an Israeli drone over the Gaza Strip where tensions have heightened amid an Israeli threat to launch a ground war on the besieged enclave.
A source in Hamas said the Palestinian resistance movement brought down the quadcopter in northern Gaza Strip on Sunday evening. Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post, however, cited some reports as saying that the drone had flown out of the area after being shot at. Hamas has confiscated Israeli drones several times, either after they crashed due to technical problems or in the wake of shooting them down.
The targeting of the drone comes amid heightened tensions in Gaza where Israeli aircraft launched airstrikes on Khan Yunis and other areas in the besieged strip on Friday, killing a 27-year-old civilian and wounding two others. The Israeli military claimed that the Friday air raids were launched in response to the firing of 10 rockets into the occupied territories from Gaza. Following the air raids, a high-ranking official from Hamas warned Israel against escalating tensions, saying Tel Aviv would face the consequences.
The Israeli military frequently bombs Gaza, with civilians being the main target of such attacks. Israel has launched several wars on the Palestinian coastal enclave, the last of which began in early July 2014. The military aggression, which ended on August 26, 2014, killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians. Over 11,100 others were wounded.
Minister: Israel may launch war on Gaza
Amid the escalating tensions along the fence separating the occupied territories from Gaza, Israeli energy minister and member of the scuity cabinet Yuval Steinitz threatened on Sunday that Tel Aviv might have to launch a military operation in the coastal enclave.
“We hoped to reach an agreement before a large military operation, and as it seems right now, we may have to set out on a big army operation and only then reach an agreement,” Steinitz said in an interview with Army Radio. “If there is no choice and we want to destroy the Hamas regime, it will have to be a ground operation, and this comes at a price,” he added.