Footage Shows Hamas Drone ‘Top Attack’ Kill Against Israeli Merkava IV Tank

Following the initiation of widespread offensives against Israeli positions in October 7, personnel from the Palestinian Hamas militia group have used drones to strike Israeli armour and gained at least one kill against an Israeli Merkava main battle tank. Footage taken by the unmanned aircraft shows a grenade being dropped on the tank and another armoured vehicle, with other footage showing similar strikes widely targeting Israeli infantry. The Merkava IV and the accompanying heavy combat vehicle went up in flames after the strikes. Top attack weapons have proliferated widely over the last two decades, and provide a means of avoiding tanks’ thicker frontal armour, with drone dropped weapons providing a less costly alternative to anti tank missiles such a the Chinese HJ-12 and American Javelin which have the same function. The militia’s very limited resources has made use of low cost drones with relatively basic munitions to strike costly Israeli hardware key to its ability to wage war. 

Israeli Merkava IV tanks have taken signifiant losses in the past in clashes with the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah in 2006, which made use of Russian Kornet anti tank missiles among other assets to take a heavy toll on advancing units. The survivability of the vehicles has since been improved with new protective systems, most famously the Trophy active protection system which has been widely exported to NATO member states. Although Hamas entered into hostilities with Hezbollah and its allies in Syria from 2011, when it aligned itself with Turkish and Qatari backed jihadist groups, the Palestinian militia has since renewed ties with Hezbollah and Syria allowing it to benefit from much greater support for its military operations. Its latest assault on Israeli positions is wholly unprecedented, and unexpected considering its severe military limitations, with Hamas forces having within 24 hours caused hundreds of Israeli casualties and captured important military facilities including munitions stockpiles and Israeli armour.