An Israeli Sikorsky CH 53 helicopter, 2010. (Israel Defense Forces) (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli Air Force

The Russian-made SAM-7, also known as a Strela, is a shoulder-fired missile capable of hitting low-flying aircraft.

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

In an unusual move, Gaza terrorists fired anti-aircraft missiles at IDF helicopters early Sunday morning. This was during IDF retaliation for two rockets fired towards Tel Aviv on Saturday.

According to Palestinian media reports, Hamas fired two Russian-made SAM-7 missiles at Israeli Air Force helicopters involved in the air strikes. The IDF confirmed that missiles were fired at its aircraft but missed, without confirming the number or type.

The SAM-7, also known as a Strela, is a shoulder-fired missile capable of hitting low-flying aircraft.

Gaza terror groups firing surface-to-air missiles at IDF aircraft is rare, but not unprecedented. A few have been fired during previous military operations, but so far, no aircraft has ever been hit.

Israel launched retaliatory air strikes after a pair of rockets fired from Gaza landed in the Mediterranean near the central coast of Israel. One exploded off the coast of Jaffa, while the second off the coast of Palmachim beach, near Rishon LeTzion. While Hamas claimed the rockets were launched inadvertently as a result of a bad weather, Israeli authorities believe they were deliberately fired by Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Israel holds Hamas responsible for any rocket fire from Gaza.

According to the IDF, retaliatory airstrikes hit a Gaza rocket production facility while tanks fired on Hamas outposts in the northern Strip.

The launch may have been related to a hunger strike by Hisham Abu Hawwash, whom Israel is holding in administrative detention. Hawwash was transferred to the Shamir Medical Center in Rishon LeTzion in December where he is currently in critical condition. Islamic Jihad has threatened violence if Abu Hawwash dies.