Israel denies UAE request to fly drones over Gaza as UK launches 'surveillance flights'
Israel has denied a request by the UAE to send five surveillance drones to the Gaza Strip, Israeli media reported on Sunday.
The drones were intended to ensure security for the transportation of equipment for a field hospital that the UAE is planning to establish in the besieged and bombed Palestinian territory.
However, The Jerusalem Post said that Abu Dhabi's request was turned down by Israel following discussions between Emirati representatives and the Israeli government and intelligence officials.
The Israeli officials said that the UAE drones would not be allowed into Gaza due to "security concerns".
"They made a request, and we politely declined," The Jerusalem Post quoted an unnamed Israeli security official as saying.
Israeli officials said that they were concerned that Hamas could take control of the UAE drones and use them against Israel, according to the Israeli outlet.
They claimed that Hamas was already using drones in the Gaza Strip to gather intelligence on the movement of Israeli forces and attack them.
Yet the Israeli military has also claimed it has already destroyed much of Hamas' drone capability, resulting in a decrease in drone use by the Palestinian group.
While Israel has denied the UAE request, the UK has been permitted to conduct surveillance flights near Gaza.
These unarmed flights would be used to help Israel locate hostages, the UK defence ministry said.