Israeli drone killed 2 militants from the air

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

GAZA CITY Israel used a combat unmanned aerial vehicle to kill Palestinian insurgents in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian sources said an Israeli UCAV fired missiles that killed two Palestinian insurgents in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. The sources said that in each case the UCAV circled the target and fired an unidentified projectile.

Israel has refused to confirm the existence or use of UCAVs. Israel was said to have procured about 200 UAVs and officials have acknowledged that the Defense Ministry was examining the feasibility of such combat platforms.

One of the Palestinians was killed in an unmanned air strike in Gaza City, Middle East Newsline reported. The sources said the UCAV fired what appeared to be a miniature missile that slammed into the Sejaiya neighborhood, a Hamas and Islamic Jihad stronghold.

Earlier on Tuesday, an Islamic Jihad insurgent was killed by an Israeli UCAV in the eastern Gaza Strip. He was identified as Ismail Al Sawarka, 25. Palestinian sources said Israel has increased its use of UCAVs in an effort to ensure rapid identification and target acquisition of insurgents.

They said the aerial vehicles appear to have somewhat replaced the use of Apache AH-64A attack helicopters in missions over the Gaza Strip.

So far, the sources said, Israeli UCAVs have killed about 40 Palestinians over the last year in the Gaza Strip. They said they included Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin, killed in March 2004 in Gaza City.

[On Wednesday, Palestinian gunners fired anti-tank missiles toward an Israeli community in the Gaza Strip. Two children were treated for shock.]

[Res.] Maj. Gen. Yitzhak Ben-Yisrael, former head of the Defense Ministry's research directorate, asserted that Israel would introduce a new UAV in 2005. Ben-Yisrael, today a professor at Tel Aviv University, did not elaborate.

"There are less than 500 UAVs in the world and half of them are in Israel," Ben-Yisrael said. "U.S. companies have purchased UAV technology from Israel."

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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