Israel Force shot down armed Iranian drone - Netanyahu

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“I think that says everything about the real patron of terror in the Middle East and the world – Iran.”

The drone Israel shot down near the border with Jordan on Tuesday was Iranian, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday.
 
“While we were busy fighting, a few days ago, Iran sent an armed drone into Israel from Iraq or Syria,” Netanyahu told German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who was in Jerusalem. “Iranian forces launched an armed drone, which our forces shot down at the border between Israel and Jordan.
 
“I think that says everything about the real patron of terror in the Middle East and the world – Iran,” Netanyahu added, showing Maas a piece of the drone.
 
The IDF shot down a drone that was approaching the Israeli-Jordanian border, traveling toward the Emek HaMa'ayanot Regional Council in northern Israel, on Tuesday.  
 
IDF units collected the fragments of the destroyed aircraft for further examination.
 
At the time, residents of Beit She'an - which sits within the regional council - were instructed to lock themselves in their homes for nearly an hour, before the IDF announced that the area had been secured, and that it was again safe for people to leave their homes.
 
Netanyahu said he described to Maas how Israel is fighting on multiple fronts, and that Iran is behind all of them.
 
“Not only does Iran totally support Islamic Jihad in Gaza and give it all its funding, it also gives weapons to Hamas and Hezbollah,” he stated. “They provide the infrastructure on which terrorist organizations depend.”
 
Maas, Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek and Slovakian Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok paid a solidarity visit to the region, as Operation Guardian of the Walls continued on Thursday.
 
“Germany stands with Israel and its right to defend itself,” Maas said ahead of a meeting with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi. “I came to Israel to show solidarity and support Israel after the rocket fire from Gaza. Israel has the right to defend itself.”
 
“Israel’s security and that of the Jewish residents here are not negotiable,” he stated.
 
Maas added that he has been following the humanitarian situation in Gaza with great concern, but that he is aware of Israeli efforts to bring humanitarian aid to the coastal enclave.
 
In recent days, Hamas twice shelled humanitarian aid convoys from Israel into Gaza, killing two civilians and injuring 10, according to the Foreign Ministry.
 
Maas also said that Germany supports efforts to bring about a ceasefire, and that he has been in contact  with the US, Egypt and others towards that aim.
 
“We need to look to the future and make sure there is sustainable peace in the region that allows for a situation in which Israelis and Palestinians can live here with self-determination. The current situation is one of uncertainty that only serves to strengthen those who spread hate and terror,” Maas stated.
 
Maas met with Ashkenazi, who also accompanied him to Petah Tikva to see a home that was destroyed by a Hamas rocket and receive a security briefing from Home Front Command commander Maj.-Gen. Ori Gorodin.
 
Soon after, Kulhanek and Korčok visited the same house.
 
Kulhanek said he was “speechless” after seeing the destruction terrorism against Israel has wrought.
 
“In these days, Israel needs its friends in the world, and we are here to show strong friendship,” he stated. “The Czech Republic proudly waved an Israeli flag over its government institutions as a sign of identification with and support for Israel. Israel has the full right to defend itself.”
 
Korčok said that Israel and Slovakia are “true friends,” and that he is in Israel to show the power of that friendship.
 
“Hamas shooting must stop. Israel has the right to defend itself,” he said.
 
Ashkenazi thanked the foreign ministers for their countries’ support, and said that raising an Israeli flag over the Czech Foreign Ministry and Bratislava’s City Hall is “heartwarming and cannot be taken for granted.”
 
Asheknazi explained that the current round of fighting is different from the past: “Hamas’s missile attack on Israel broke out following a brutal attempt by Hamas to strengthen its political status and take over the Palestinian agenda and Palestinian Authority leadership.
 
“Hamas chose to do this through terrorist attacks and shooting missiles and rockets at Israeli civilians in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the south. [Hamas] is doing this from populated areas, in backyards and schools, while using residents of Gaza as human shields. Hamas is committing a double war crime,” he said.
 
Ashkenazi pointed out that Hamas rockets have destroyed electric lines into Gaza, and then Hamas shot at Israeli Electric Company staff that tried to fix them.
 
“This is another example of how Hamas harms the population of Gaza and cynically takes advantage of its distress,” Ashkenazi said.
 
Maas also met with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who updated him on developments in the fighting against Hamas and progress towards the goal of attaining long-term quiet and security for Israelis.
 
The German foreign minister also plans to meet with President Reuven Rivlin and will go to Ramallah to meet Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh. He plans to return to Germany on Thursday.
 
Zachary Keyser contributed to this report.
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