JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinian terrorists in Gaza launched an anti-aircraft missile at an Israeli Air Force helicopter.
It is believed to be the first time that the Strela shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile was used against an Israeli aircraft. The missile fired last week missed its target — a helicopter flying over the Gaza Strip.
Israeli defense officials speaking anonymously confirmed the attack to The Associated Press. The Israel Defense Forces has not officially commented on the report of the attack that appeared in the Hebrew daily Yediot Achronot on Tuesday.
The missile most likely originated in Libya and was captured by rebels who helped overthrow the Gadhafi regime, according to The Israel Project.
Tens of thousands of anti-aircraft missiles went missing in the aftermath of the Gadhafi regime’s overthrow. Israeli intelligence has long warned that many of them made their way from Libya and into the hands of Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip, according to The Israel Project.
It is feared that Palestinian terrorists will use such missiles to target an airliner carrying civilians.