Jerusalem: The Israeli Air Force scrambled fighter jets to the Gaza border after Islamist group Hamas launched a drone during a military parade it held in the coastal territory Sunday to mark the 27th anniversary of its establishment, Israeli media reported.
Footage of the drone, which Hamas touted as having been locally built, was posted on social media sites. One short clip on Facebook showed the aircraft circling the skies over Gaza City to the roar of cheering crowds at the rally, though it did not cross into Israeli airspace, Xinhua reported.
An Israeli military spokesperson would not confirm reports that jets had been scrambled to possibly intercept the Hamas drone. "We are familiar with the incident. The IAF is ready and equipped to deal with any aerial threat to Israel," he said.
A military source was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as saying that jets were scrambled to the border, but were ordered to return to base after it was deemed that the drone does not pose a threat.
In an annual show of prowess to mark its founding in 1987, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, showcased long-range missiles mounted on trucks as well as naval commandos and members of its other fighting units brandishing weapons.
Khalil al-Haya, among several senior Hamas officials who addressed the rally, boasted that the group was capable of infiltrating into Israel by sea, air and land.