Israeli Military Using Drones to Save Lives

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In the past few years, drone technology has changed the landscape of modern military warfare.

While most attention has been on deadly airstrikes, the Israeli military is using drones to save lives and win the public relations battle against its enemies. 

From the giant Heron drone to the portable Skylark, unmanned aerial vehicles help the Israeli army protect Israelis, their soldiers and even their enemies.

CBN News spoke with Captain "N", a drone operator. The IDF permitted the interview on the condition we hide his identity.

"We have the communication with the ground troops to [tell] them exactly what to do," Captain "N" told CBN News. "We talk directly to the forces and to aim them to the right places to go or to fire or to hide if necessary."

The drones also capture all the action on video. That levels the public relations playing ground when Israel's enemies and the international community accuse it of wrong doing.

"Probably the most important thing that the UAVs help during combat is to distinguish terrorist from civilians because most of the enemy techniques here in the region is to operate from civilian areas," Captain "N" said. "We really don't want to hurt civilians during combat."

According to Captain "N", the operators can see very clearly. "The Israeli UAVs can see everything that you could think that you want to see -- like to distinguish if man has a red shirt, or smoking a cigarette, or have sunglasses or a hat."

"The Arab world and our enemies want the world to see that Israel is not moral," he said. "Instead of what you hear, the technology that the Israeli army uses is being used only for logical and safety measured involvements."

In 2012, Israel launched operation Pillar of Defense in response to massive rocket attacks on Israeli civilians from terror groups in the Gaza Strip. Much of the eight-day battle was directed by and captured on video from drones.  

CBN News obtained footage shot from a drone showing various operations. 

In one video, the Israeli Air Force calls off an airstrike because Palestinian children are playing soccer near the intended target.

In another, Palestinian rockets are launched at Israel.

In a third one, the IAF delays its strike on a terror target because a motorcycle enters the road. Then, after the IAF carries out the strike, the operator confirms the motorcyclist is safe because he's seen driving away.

While technology provides eyes and ears, the commanders must still make the decisions. Captain "N" says morality also comes with a price.

"We can't really hit and destroy the targets and the people that we want to destroy because we consider the population and the civilians who are around those kinds of terrorists," he said.

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Chris Mitchell and Julie Stahl

Chris Mitchell and Julie Stahl

CBN News Middle East Bureau

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