Hamas flying an Iranian-made Armed Drone over Gaza

Al Qassam Brigades are using their Twitter feed to show an Armed Drone flying over Gaza.

Ezzedeen Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas are flying an UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) over Gaza Strip and are using the social media to show footage and photographs of the rarely seen Ababil A1B armed drone.

Ababil (Persian: ابابیل‎, “swallow”) is the name of a large family of UAV made in Iran developed for tactical reconnaissance, short/medium range attack and as target drones.

Notheworthy, the Ababil 1 is one of the less known variants belonging to the family, which includes the Ababil 3, reportedly shot down in Iraq by a U.S. F-16 in February 2009, the Ababil 5 medium range recon drone; the Ababil-T, a a twin-tailed attack variant used by Hezbollah in northern Israel; and several other scarcely seen or unconfirmed models, as the Ababil-R and the Ababil-S.

The aircraft depicted in the footage released by Hamas carries four AGMs (Air-to-Ground Missiles) even though it is almost impossible to say whether they are real weapons or just mock ups.

In fact, the group claimed on Twitter that the A1B carried out three missions over Israeli military bases and a specific mission over the Israeli war ministry but the fact the drone didn’t use any of the on board weaponry seems to suggest it does not have a real capability to use it.

In other words, even if we can’t rule the possibility that Hamas’s drones can use their air-to-surface weapons, it seems that it carries four missiles it can’t fire.

These missiles are quite similar to those carried by Fotros, the largest Iranian UCAV to date. When it was unveiled, the Fotros was showcased carrying missiles that resembled the AGM-114 Hellfire. They sported a ‘K-2’ written on them in a similar style to that seen on AGM-114K-2 missiles.

Nevertheless, the unprecedented activity by Hamas drones is confirmed by the Israeli Defense Force, that confirmed to have shot down a UAV with a Patriot missile, near Ashdod, earlier on Monday Jul. 14.

This is not the first time made-in-Iran drones appear far from Tehran, in war-time. Several types of UAV, including brand new models and drones based on captured US robots, have been spotted over Syria during the uprising and subsequent fighting between rebels and Assadists.

But it is quite surprising to see a small/medium drone, as the Ababil 1, flying (almost undisturbed) over Gaza (especially since the airspace over the Strip is currently filled with Israeli Air Force fighter planes). And, above all, it is weird such a small UAV does carry weapons and surveillance sensors: all things that imply a significant payload and require larger airframes, more robust wings and engineering capabilities not believed to be in Hamas possession until today.



H/T @troublejee for the heads-up



About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Paylods are just tools. There are too small to be effective. A roquet launcher or a unguided bomb will be more effective. Hamas can not hope to get back its uav after a mission. The best is to sacrifice it by hiting the target like a harpy of IAI specially ad it seem that the best of this ababil is the guiding and optronics.

    its funny that israelians use a patriot to hunt a drone who fly at 150mile/h max. Who cares, oncle sam will pay. Althow its an expensive ratio

      • So far IDF is much more “effective” in killing civilans so don’t be a tool yourself…

        • You make it sound like it’s the IDF that’s putting rockets, mortars and
          launchers in and around civilian homes, hospitals and schools…

        • Well, somebody’s rocket must have misfired this morning, or got hit by the IDF/AF. You fail to mention the videos I have seen of IDF breaking off their attacks because Palestinians use their own kids to protect their weapons. Chicken ****s

    • So what? It is better than having NOTHING AT ALL! I thought Muslims suppose to say alhemdoulillah for what they’ve got.

    • Don’t worry American taxpayers are here, 130 billion $ and counting !

      • jolly generous of them. No doubt when Detroit went bankrupt they refused cash to save their own schools etc instead insisting to send money abroad!

        • Actually more than 50% of all funding of systems like Iron Dome (while being developed by IAI) is spent in the US – so the foreign aid you decry is actually invested back into the US military industrial complex

          get your f’ing facts straight before you speak out of your arse

            • And the US uses Israel as an R&D market for aerospace and weaponry – it’s symbiotic

          • yes its like giving charity money and then saying they must spend it at one of your businesses. 50% of $130bn is still $65bn – quite a big sum of money in anyone’s mind.

            But you also raise a great point – does that make America culpable to what’s going on in Palestine if they are not only providing the cash but also the weapons to be used?

            • You mean culpable in a purely defensive weapon defending civilian population and infrastructure?


              Just like EU, US, GCC, UN funding of the PA and Hamas funds terror

              • America is culpable. It supplies armaments for a brutal military occupation and massacre of Palestinian people, by Israel.

                • Greg – last checked Gaza is a sovereign and autonomous state. It’s rulers – HAMAS – are at war with both Israel and Egypt – so there’s border restrictions.

                  massacre of Palestinian people? what fantasy land do you live in?

                  100 years of communal fighting.

                  Just own up to it and say you don’t like the results and you’re an anti-Semite and we can move on.

                  • “anti-semite”!? So you cone up with labels for anyone you do not see things eye to eye with.

          • yeah that’s what I read that usa taxpayer $ to Israel is “investments” but its a lot of BS, nothing against Israel but any serviceman on base stateside will say the same thing, you rarely see anything that says “made in Israel” and curiously the americans stopped using rockets as an interceptor years ago most likely investing in laser based systems against sophisticated Russian icms , not rockets launched by gaza (which is on a par with Haiti) iron dome would never be used by americans

  2. I guess this is nothing more, as a remote airplane. As soon as it would transmit any data back to pilot (like a video feed, etc), it would soon be identified as a target a shot down. Still, a small drone, with a couple of handgrenades on it, could be the next generation IED.

  3. I don’t know why Patriot missile was used in this particular case (maybe because it is classic SAM). But the rationale is the same as behind the Iron Dome. The damages of 10kg of explosives can be get to hundreds thousands of dollars if not millions. Intercepting the thread finally is much more cost effective, not talking about saved lives.

  4. no surprise, all those drones are propeller driven and could be made in Haiti if need be (even Israel with all its drones all are propellor driven, Israel has ZERO jet powered drones), even slamming it into people will be the next thing they are cheap and who knows how many drone flights succeeded over Israel I seriously doubt Israel would ever admit that

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