Israel Defense Forces officials said that the deployment was not an emergency measure, and such systems are deployed to the area from time to time.
Moreover, IDF officials refused to comment on the possible connection between the drone, which was intercepted on Saturday, and the Patriot missile system deployed to Haifa.
The Patriot missile system is a part of Israel’s air defense capabilities, and is meant to defend against enemy warplanes, and intercept missiles.
Last April, a Patriot battery was deployed to Haifa, close to the city’s university. Numerous such systems were in place in Haifa during the Second Lebanon War as well.
The deployment of the battery comes shortly before the beginning of a joint comprehensive drill between the IDF and United States Military commands, which has been called AC12. The AC12 drill entails testing the active defense capabilities of the two military organizations.
The last joint-command drill, “Juniper Cobra,” which took place in 2010, included the use of Patriot missile systems. Then, ten Patriot missiles were fired at UAVs simulating a breach of Israeli airspace. The Israeli air defense establishment has labeled the AC12 as “a significant factor in improving our combat capabilities” with the United States.
The Israeli Air Force shot down an unidentified aerial vehicle that penetrated Israel’s airspace on Saturday. IDF forces shot down the drone over the Negev, south of Mount Hebron.
The IDF said Saturday that the drone arrived in Israel from the west after flying over the Mediterranean and the Gaza Strip. It said the incident is under investigation.
After the drone traveled east some 35 miles (56 km) across Israel’s southern Negev desert, the drone was shot down above a forest in an unpopulated area near the border with the West Bank, the IDF spokesperson said.
The estimation from within Israel’s security establishment is that the UAV was operated by Hezbollah, and flew south over the Mediterranean sea before breaching Israeli airspace from the south.