BEIRUT: Hamas has carried out a drone surveillance mission over the Israeli Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, its military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam said Monday.
"Today we reveal for the first time that our drones carried out specific missions during one of their sorties over the Zionist War Ministry in Tel Aviv, in which the aggression on Gaza is led," the group said in a statement, according to the Quds news website.
The statement said that the group had launched several drone missions Monday morning but contact was lost with two drones during the missions.
Earlier, the Israeli military said it had downed an unmanned drone near the southern city of Ashdod. The military said the drone had come from Gaza and was shot down Monday by a Patriot missile.
Ezzedine al-Qassam said it had manufactured three models of unmanned drones, calling them “Ababil 1,” and that the drones have been flown before into Israel’s interior without being detected.
"Hamas is trying everything it can to produce some kind of achievement and it is crucial that we maintain our high state of readiness," Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said. "The shooting down of a drone this morning by our air defense system is an example of their efforts to strike at us in any way possible."
This would be the first launch of drones from Gaza since the beginning of the latest Israeli offensive on the coastal enclave. The death toll has risen to more than 170 since Israel launched air raids on Gaza early last week in response to increasing rocket fire from the territory.