Two days after an unmanned drone penetrated Israeli airspace and was shot down, the Israel Defense Forces deployed a Patriot surface-to-air missile battery on Monday in the Carmel region, near Haifa.
IDF officials said that the deployment was not unusual and that similar deployments have been carried out in various parts of Israel from time to time. There is usually a specific reason, however, for the deployment of a Patriot battery in the Haifa region.
The Patriot system is capable of intercepting hostile aircraft, missiles and unmanned drones.
In April, a Patriot battery was deployed in the Stella Maris area of Haifa. Patriot batteries were deployed in the Haifa region both during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and after the killing of Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughniyeh in 2008. The IDF also sometimes deploys various aerial defense systems at different sites throughout the country as part of training exercises.
The IDF is continuing to investigate Saturday's incident in which the Israel Air Force shot down an unmanned drone over the Yatir Forest in southern Israel. The assessment gaining ground in Israel is that the drone came from Lebanon, flying over the Mediterranean Sea and the Gaza Strip before entering Israeli airspace. The IDF has not officially confirmed this.
The Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news channel, which has links with Hezbollah, reported on Sunday that the drone was launched by the Shiite terrorist organization.
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon did not detect a drone leaving Lebanon, a UNIFIL spokesperson said on Monday.
Lebanese media outlets reported increased activities by IAF aircraft in the skies over southern Lebanon on Sunday, a possible response to Saturday's drone incursion.
On Monday, the Al-Arabiya news channel reported that the drone was Iranian-made and was sent on a mission to photograph the nuclear reactor in Dimona.
The Iranian Fars state news agency quoted Revolutionary Guards official Jamaleddin Aberoumand as saying that the drone incident showed the "inefficiency" of Israel's aerial defense systems.
The IDF said that the drone was being followed even before it entered Israeli airspace and that it was shot down in accordance with operational considerations after spending less than 30 minutes over Israel.