Israeli forces reportedly deployed explosive-laden drones during a counter-terrorism operation in the West Bank city of Nablus on Thursday morning.
An Israeli security team comprising members of the Israel Defense Forces, the Israel Police, and the Shin Bet sent a combat drone inside a house where suspected Hamas gunmen were hiding, The Jerusalem Post wrote.
Four people were killed in the operation, including two suspected Hamas members accused of killing an Israeli-British mother and her two daughters in Israel last month.
An accomplice of the suspected terrorists and a bystander also died during the hour-long raid, the outlet added.
The police’s Yamam counter-terrorism unit surrounded the hideout in the Nablus Old City and fired a shoulder-launched rocket at it, according to The Times of Israel.
Citing reports, The Jerusalem Post added that there are “indications” that a drone entered the house through a window and then exploded. It added that the unmanned aerial vehicle might have launched a missile as well.
The drone use indicates a tactical shift in Israel’s counter-terrorism operations policy, possibly to avoid collateral damage and escalation, the outlet wrote.
The unmanned tool also allows Israeli forces to conduct such operations with fewer personnel.
If true, this marks the first time an explosive-laden drone was used in a counter-terrorism operation in West Bank, the outlet claimed, adding that Israel has previously used such platforms in Gaza.
A senior Isreal Defense Forces officer confirmed to The Times of Israel that drones were used in the raid. However, he denied that this was the first time unmanned aerial platforms were used in counter-terrorism operations in the West Bank.