The army said Tuesday afternoon it was “not familiar” with reports from earlier Tuesday about an SA-7 surface-to-air missile allegedly fired at an air force helicopter.
The report, though, raised the issue of what Hamas and other terror groups possess in their arsenals of imported and locally made weapons.
The SA-7, which was reportedly first used in combat by Egyptian troops during the War of Attrition with Israel in 1969, is “a well-known and obsolete weapon,” said Tal Inbar of the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies.
Israeli aircraft are all equipped with the appropriate defensive systems and flight regulations that keep them out of range of the low-altitude, Soviet-made missile, he said, adding that there have been roughly 10 cases of SA-7 missiles fired from Gaza.
Many of the surface-to-air missiles circulating around the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza are originally from Libya, and some of them, according to a 2012 Washington Institute for Near East Policy paper written by Ehud Yaari, are more advanced, although it is unclear if those models, such as the SA-18, were transferred out of Sinai and into Gaza.
Inbar said that Hamas’s long-range rockets, capable of striking Tel Aviv, are either Iranian-made Fajr-5 rockets — built in Iran in segments in order to facilitate smuggling and for the express use of a terror organization — or self-made M-75s. He describes the M-75 as a 133mm rocket equipped with a 90-kilogram warhead.
According to Brig. Gen. Itay Brun, military intelligence’s top analyst, there are several hundred of these sorts of rockets in Gaza.
The Grad rockets, of which Hamas has thousands, carry a smaller warhead, up to 20 kilograms, and have a maximum range of roughly 40 kilometers. They are factory-made, Inbar says, and are equipped with a fragmentation warhead.
The Kassam rockets, he adds, exist in a quantity “too large to count,” and, though very basic, their flight time is too short for Iron Dome to effectively combat.
Hamas also possesses an array of anti-tank missiles and heavy anti-aircraft machine guns.