Palestinian militant group Hamas has captured one of Israel’s military surveillance and reconnaissance balloons.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, an official in the military wing of Hamas told Al-Monitor that the observation balloon became disconnected from its anchor and crashed in a city north of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli armed forces personnel reportedly attempted to destroy the device before Hamas could find it but were unsuccessful.
According to Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, the balloon crashed because of an operating officer’s mistake and was blown by a strong wind toward the Gaza Strip.
After the incident, the military temporarily pulled surveillance balloons from its borders as a precautionary measure.
Military editor and senior defense analyst Amir Bohbot explained that the recent capture of an Israeli balloon by Hamas could be “dangerous” for the nation.
Concerns about the potential leak of crucial information surfaced, but the Israeli army said it is not afraid if such a leak occurs.
The source from Hamas revealed that the balloon is equipped with six high-resolution cameras with night and fog visibility, as well as thermal imaging.
“We are now working on re-operating this balloon to use it to monitor the movements of the Israeli army,” the Hamas official told Al-Monitor.
Hamas has been using locally-made drones and cameras available on the market to monitor Israeli military movements until now.