Speaking today about the firing of an SA-7 anti-aircraft missile against an Israeli attack helicopter flying over the Gaza Strip, Strategic Affairs Minister Yossi Kuperwasser says that the strip is actually awash in such weaponry since the 2011 US attack on Libya.
The NATO-imposed regime change in Libya ended with Gadhafi loyalists abandoning several massive weapons stockpiles, and leaving them to looters. The weaponry has shown up across Africa, with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (NMLA) both recipients of major upgrades in weapons.
There was no real doubt that some of the weapons would eventually find their way into Gaza. Over a year ago the first smuggled weapons were already showing up in large numbers in the bordering Sinai Peninsula, and several Gazan factions were keen on such acquisitions.
The attack that happened didn’t actually hit the helicopter, but could be a sign of major things to come in the region, as the Israeli military’s long-assumed belief that it can launch air strikes into the tiny enclave with impunity may no longer hold true.