WATCH: How Israeli Military Is Shooting Down Hamas-Launched Suicide Aka Kamikaze Drones

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have intercepted many Hamas-launched kamikaze drones, besides hundreds of rockets, in the past few days. 

Since last weekend, Israel has been in a military conflict with Palestinian militant groups, which have launched hundreds of artillery strikes on the Jewish country each day from Gaza. Apart from rockets, Hamas’s use of drones has taken this armed conflict to a new level.

A new kamikaze unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) nicknamed “Shehab” has been noticed in the latest round of IDF-Hamas clash. It was built by Hamas’ militant wing, Al-Qassem Brigades. The UAV bears many similarities to an Iranian drone used extensively by Houthis in Yemen.

According to experts, a video released by Hamas showed the UAV being deployed by its militants near the Israeli border. The IDF also released footage of a similar drone being destroyed by an anti-air missile after it entered the Israeli airspace.

This UAV bears many physical similarities to Iranian ‘Ababil’ drones that are being used by its proxies in battlefields over Lebanon, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, and most notably, Yemen.

The IDF has intercepted many Hamas drones and attacked select targets. The Shehab has a cylindrical fuselage, a sweptback vertical fin, powered by a pusher engine with a simple two-bladed propeller.

It comes with a rear-mounted wing and a front canard for a good stall, stability, and maneuverability characteristics. Its origins are unclear, and while Hamas claims that it is an entirely indigenous design, the UAV’s configuration is exactly similar to that of the Ababil-T.

However, the Shehab is not an exact copy of any Qasef or Ababil variants and is a bit smaller than the aforementioned two. Also, the shape and size of the wings are different, along with its nose cone, which seems to be a blunter and rounded than its said Iranian and Yemeni relatives. The make and finish of the Shehab are inferior to that of the factory-made Ababil.

Experts are of the view that the Shaheb can be seen with a commercial GPS module, which would be used most probably to send it to a location with preprogrammed coordinates, fed into the flight computer.

According to defense analyst Tyler Rogoway, Shehab’s distinct qualities do not preclude some kind of Iranian involvement or influence in its design. He speculates Iran could be making several variants of its own drones and missiles and selling them to foreign proxies, “possibly to provide plausible deniability”.

“It’s also not necessarily surprising that Shehab is smaller than the Qasef or Ababil-T designs, the distances involved in attacking Israel from Gaza are much shorter than those between launch sites in Yemen and targets in Saudi Arabia, for instance,” Rogoway writes in a piece for TheWarZone.

Whether the UAV is derived from Iran or not is a separate matter, but its usage by Hamas against Israel highlights the changing nature of warfare. Such cheaper, locally produced drones could prove effective against the enemy or could even exhaust missiles worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Not just Israel, this s-UAS technology has been a nuisance for even the most powerful military in the world, the United States, that has been running its own C-sUAS (Counter- Small Unmanned Aerial Systems) program.

Israel Hits Targets

The Israeli army struck dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip last night, including launch pads, underground rocket launchers, a Hamas tunnel, weapon depots and militant groups, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Saturday.

“During the night, the IDF struck dozens of terror targets in the Gaza Strip. IDF fighter jets and aircraft struck a large number of rocket launch sites and underground rocket launchers, among them a multi-barrelled rocket launcher, from which rockets were fired at Jerusalem on the first day of Operation ‘Guardian of the Walls,'” the statement read.

The Hamas tunnel was located underneath a hotel beach in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, which according to IDF, serves as an example of how the Palestinian movement is deploying military objects in civilian areas.

Apartments belonging to Hamas commanders were also targeted, as according to the IDF they “served as terror infrastructure and command and control centres for recent hostilities.”

“A number of terrorist squads on their way to launch rockets into Israeli territory were also struck, along with a Hamas post which included an Anti-Tank missile launcher in Jabalia,” the press release read.

Operational offices belonging to the head of the Hamas Security Forces in Rimal, which Israel believes also served as “terror infrastructure,” were targeted, along with ammo warehouses belonging to “terror organizations in the Gaza Strip.”

The situation on the border of the Palestinian enclave corroded on Monday evening. Since the start of the confrontation, over 2,200 rockets have been launched from Gaza into Israel, while the Israeli army targeted hundreds of strikes on Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets across the border.