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Israel says it downed a drone along its southern coast

Israel's military says it shot down a drone near the city of Ashdod, along its southern coastline, Monday morning, The Associated Press reports. The event marks the first time Israel has encountered drones since it began its campaign against the Gaza Strip militants last week.

Military officials said the drone came from Gaza but did not reveal what the unmanned aircraft was carrying. According to the military, the drone was shot down mid-flight by a Patriot surface-to-air missile.

Israel began airstrikes against militants last Tuesday, killing 172 Palestinians so far, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza. Militants have fired nearly 1,000 rockets at Israel, but the AP reports that there have been no Israeli fatalities thus far. However, "the use of drones with an offensive capacity could potentially inflict significant casualties."

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the fighting could last for "a long time." Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has offered American help to restore peace, and U.N. Security Council has called for an Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire.