According to the Israeli Defense Forces, an unarmed Egyptian drone was intercepted by Israeli fighters earlier this week in the southern Negev Desert.
According to the military, the incident occurred on Monday near Mount Sagi, just a few kilometers from the Egyptian border. The IDF said unmanned aerial vehicles were monitored as they passed through Israeli airspace.
The UAV, operated by Egyptian troops to monitor Islamic State’s activities in the deserts of the northern Sinai Peninsula, apparently encountered technical problems and accidentally invaded Israeli airspace, causing operators to lose contact. Defense sources said.
Aircraft down was coordinated with Egypt, sources added. IDF said the case was under investigation.
The incident occurred when Israel’s air defense was very vigilant in response to Iran’s threat to respond to the assassination of a senior officer of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The military did not say why it covered the incident for two days, but Army radio quoted Egypt’s sensitivity to the matter.
Egypt is fighting an Islamic state-led rebellion on the Sinai Peninsula that intensified after the army was elected in 2013 but defeated a split Muslim president. Terrorists launched numerous attacks, primarily targeting Egyptian security forces and Christians.
In 2018, Israeli drone, fighter and helicopter gunships reportedly bombed more than 100 Islamic terrorists in the region near the Israeli border over a two-year period. ..
In May, the Islamic State accused Israel of assassinating a leader of a local jihadist group in an airstrike.
Security coordination between Jerusalem and Cairo is known to be close, but despite 30 years of official peace, that relationship is unpopular in Egypt. To mask cooperation, Israeli aircraft are often unmarked and sometimes use indirect routes to hide the origin of the strike, the New York Times reported at the time.
Israeli and Egyptian officials declined to confirm or comment on the report.