An Israeli Air Force fighter jet shot down an unmanned aircraft from the Gaza Strip early Tuesday afternoon, an army spokesman said.

The unmanned craft, believed to be controlled by Hamas, was detected flying along the Gaza coastline.

Israeli security forces tracked the aircraft’s movements, and an Israeli Air Force fighter jet shot down the craft.

"Earlier today a Hamas UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) took off from the Gaza Strip and was intercepted by an IAF aircraft just off the coast of the Gaza Strip," a statement from the military read.

"The UAV was under IAF surveillance from the moment it took off from the Gaza Strip."

Eyewitnesses in the area reported seeing the plane shoot the drone down.

An IDF spokesperson said the Hamas UAV never managed to penetrate Israeli airspace.

Even after Israel’s 2005 Disengagement from Gaza, the IDF still maintains control over airspace over the Strip.

“The IDF will not allow any violation of [local] airspace and will act firmly against any such attempt,” an IDF spokesman said regarding the incident.

"Hamas has been developing its drone capabilities especially in the last two years," Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said.

"Today's event proves once more that Hamas continues to invest in tools of terror and not the needs of the people of Gaza," he added.

AFP contributed to this report

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