Daily Israel Report

Route of Drone Hints It May Have Been Aimed at Nuclear Reactor

The strange route of the enemy drone downed by the IAF indicates Israel may have diverted it from flying over the Dimona nuclear reactor.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 10/7/2012, 8:54 AM

Israeli Army helicopter after drone downed
Israeli Army helicopter after drone downed
Reuters

The enemy drone downed by the Air Force, Saturday, took a strange route that did not cover strategic sites, indicating Israel may have diverted it from a route over the nuclear reactor in Dimona, located due east of Gaza.

The UAV entered Israeli air space from the Mediterranean Sea along the Gaza Coast and then made a U-turn, flying over the southern Hevron Hills before an F-16 plane destroyed it over a non-populated area.

The route raises questions because there are no army or air force bases or any other strategic sites along the route.

Officials estimate that it was guided by a pre-programmed GPS inside the drone and not from a control center at its origin, apparently Hizbullah-dominated southern Lebanon, DEBKA File reported. Israel may have carried out a cyber attack to scramble the GPS and change its route.

It is widely assumed that the drone was transmitting pictures. If the drone had continued on its eastern course from Gaza, it would have flown near or directly over the nuclear reactor. Israeli officials have been concerned since earlier this year that the nuclear facility would be vulnerable to an attack from Iran.

If the drone was not headed for Dimona, its strange route could mean the enemy simply was testing Israel’s response system.

The IDF said it scrambled several F-16 jets within minutes after the UAV was detected, and the IDF said, "This drone was spotted over the Mediterranean in a sector near Gaza, before entering Israeli airspace, where the air force followed it."

The fact that Israel allowed the UAV to fly over Israel for more than 20 minutes also indicates that the IAF may have diverted its route until it could safely bring it down a relatively unpopulated area. Otherwise, there would be no reason to allow an enemy craft to presumably transmit pictures.