There are really two possibilities here. One some unknown party is trying to spy on Israel. Two Iran decided to prove that it had copied that downed US drone. Too bad it forgot that US drone technology derived from Israeli technology.
The only real question is why even bother? Iran has plenty of disposable human personnel on the ground. Sure having Hamas defect to the Sunni Gulf Axis probably put a crimp in the number of available personnel, but spending a sizable chunk of change on a drone seems rather senseless except as a way of showing off.
Iran would no doubt like precise targeting capability inside Israel, but drone warfare is mainly suitable for countries that are troubled by collateral damage. That’s never been a problem for any Muslim country. That just leaves espionage.
On Saturday at 10 AM, the IDF control systems identified a penetration by an unmanned aircraft from the Mediterranean, entering over Gaza, into the south of Israel.
The drone was under continuous surveillance from the air and the ground upon entering Israeli airspace, including an escort from IAF fighter jets, as it traveled some 100 kilometers over Israel.
The drone was shot down by an F-16 (“Sufa”) with an anti-aircraft missile, in the area of Yatir forest in the northern Negev (the south Mount Hebron area), in order to prevent damage to populated areas.
IDF forces are collecting fragments of the aircraft to try to identify with certainty its origin and mission.
It is now believed that the drone was launched from Lebanon and traveled south until it turned into Israel. That could mean it was controlled by Hezbollah or Iran.
IDF Spokesperson Yoav Mordechai said the drone was being tracked the entire time it was over Israel.