Israel’s military said Monday it shot down an unmanned drone along its southern coastline, the first time it has encountered such a weapon since its struggle with Gaza Strip militants began last week.

The military said the drone came from Gaza and was downed by a Patriot missile near the southern city of Ashdod.

The development comes as thousands of residents are fleeing northern Gaza at the urging of the Israeli military, and as Israel’s ground troops briefly crossed the border Sunday on a mission to destroy a launching site used by militants. […]