An enemy Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), apparently laden with explosives, was shot down by the IDF near the port city of Ashdod Monday morning.
The interception caused a strong explosion to rock Ashdod and triggered air raid sirens at around 6:30 a.m..
The Navy is reportedly looking for remains of the UAV.
The IDF Spokesman said that the UAV was shot down by a Patriot missile and that it fell in an open space along the Ashdod beach.
Mordechai Weisman, a resident of the Beit Shemesh area, told Arutz Sheva that the downing of the UAV "was accompanied by a very loud and long jet-like rumbling sound" that could be heard dozens of kilometers away.
“I just saw and heard massive column of smoke rising from Tel Aviv / coastal area,” he told Arutz Sheva's Tamar Yonah. “It sounded as loud as a large jet engine even from here near Beit Shemesh. Like nothing we've seen before. Looking at the photo, I would say it is coming from the Ashdod area. And just for the record, it was really scary watching and listening to that. The image does not at all do it justice...”
The Air Force conducted a rehearsal in April for an event in which an enemy Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) infiltrates Israeli airspace.
Both jet fighter and combat helicopter squadrons took part in the rehearsal, and practiced interception of a UAV near Israel's border, reported the Air Force website.
The IAF sees the threat as a growing one and the air crews rehearsed situations in which the most sophisticated UAVs in existence attempt to infiltrate – including models that Israel has neer encountered.
"This year, we practiced against a different kind of UAV,” explained Captain Avi, Ground Safety Officer at Ramon Air Base. “It is more advanced, faster and can stay in the air longer than the routine UAVs, and thus poses more of a threat for the air crews.”