The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have turned to drones as a valuable tool in the conflict along the Gaza-Israel border. Over the weekend the IDF used amateur drone racers to take down “fire kites” launched by the Palestinians to set fire to the bushes on the Israeli side of the border, as well as kites that are outfitted with what may be small explosives. After our report from early April, we now learn that the Israeli Army has yet again turned to drones to drop tear gas canisters among the Palestinian protesters. News reports indicate that at least 52 people have died during the protests and many more have been injured. Yesterday marks the single deadliest day in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the 2014 war began.
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Drones have become a valuable tool for the IDF
Since the official opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, the protests along the Gaza-Israel border have intensified and the Israeli Army has turned to drones to drop large volumes of tear gas canisters among the protesting Palestinians. The concept of using drones to drop their gas canisters is not new. However, yesterday’s actions by the IDF, mark the single largest and highest visible usage of drones dispensing tear gas.
In the videos below you can see that the IDF is using two different approaches when it comes to deploying tear gas to disperse the Palestinian protesters. The first method is using the drone like a crop duster, dispersing the gas as it flies over the crowds. It seems that this method is less effective, especially in the high wind conditions as seen along the Gaza-Israel border, than the second version in which the IDF drops large tear gas canisters on to the protesters below.
In response to the drone use by the IDF, the Palestinian protesters have taken to catapults and slingshots to hurl rocks at the drones. The third video below, that was posted on YouTube on May 8th, confirms that they successfully took down 2 IDF drones.
The Israeli Defense Forces do not only use drones to disperse tear gas and take down fire kites but they also use them for surveillance purposes. Especially in a border conflict situation, the drones proof incredibly valuable as they’re able to fly across the border and provide a higher vantage point from which the IDF can observe the protesting Palestinians, while keeping their personnel safe.
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Photo credit: An Israeli drone dropping tear gas canisters on Palestinian protesters. Mohammed Abed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images