BEIRUT

Middle East

Israeli drone crashes in Gaza, airstrike kills three

Hamas military wing members take part in a ceremony to inaugurate a monument marking the anniversary of the death of a senior Hamas official Ibrahim Maqadama, killed in an Israeli air strike in 2003, in Gaza City , Monday, March 10, 2014. The (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

GAZA CITY: An Israeli airstrike killed three Gaza militants on Tuesday near an area where an unmanned Israeli surveillance aircraft crashed earlier in the day, a Gaza official said.

The Israeli military said the Skylark drone experienced a technical malfunction and it was investigating what caused it to go down.

Israel uses drones to gather intelligence on militant activity in Gaza, a territory governed by the Palestinian Islamic militant group Hamas, and where several other armed groups also operate.

Hamas militants said they recovered the aircraft in southern Gaza and handed it over to security forces. No further details were immediately available.

The Israeli army would not say whether the drone's fall into Hamas' hands could provide secrets or technology to the militants. The Skylark, however, is known to have safeguards to prevent disclosure of information to unauthorized personnel.

Shortly after the drone crashed, the Islamic Jihad movement said an Israeli airstrike struck the area, killing three members belonging to the group.

The Israeli military said it was responding to mortar fire that had just taken place toward Israel.

"Terrorists must know that there is a price to pay when participating in aggression," said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a military spokesman.

The military also said that in an incident late on Monday, Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian after he threw rocks at Israeli cars in the West Bank. Palestinian police initially blamed Jewish settlers for the shooting.

The shooting came after Israeli guards shot and killed a Jordanian judge who the Israelis said tried to grab a rifle from a soldier at the border crossing between the West Bank and Jordan.

Shootings at the Allenby crossing on the West Bank-Jordan border are rare. Israel and Jordan signed a peace agreement 20 years ago and have close security ties.

The military said its initial investigation showed that the man attacked a soldier while shouting "Allahu Akbar," Arabic for "God is Great," and the soldiers were forced to open fire, first toward his legs and then once again, after the suspect began to strangle a soldier.

Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the latest escalation was a "dangerous provocation" that could spiral out of control.

Israel and the Palestinians are engaged in peace talks that have showed no sign of progress yet.

 

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Summary

An Israeli airstrike killed three Gaza militants on Tuesday near an area where an unmanned Israeli surveillance aircraft crashed earlier in the day, a Gaza official said.

The Israeli military said the Skylark drone experienced a technical malfunction and it was investigating what caused it to go down.

Shortly after the drone crashed, the Islamic Jihad movement said an Israeli airstrike struck the area, killing three members belonging to the group.

The military also said that in an incident late on Monday, Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian after he threw rocks at Israeli cars in the West Bank.


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