According to a senior Israel Air Force officer, "terror organizations in the Gaza Strip have anti-aircraft capabilities." The IAF is a joint participant in most Gaza operations, particularly in pinpoint operations or assistance to ground forces.
IAF sources are worried that, pursuant to Hizbullah success to take down an Israel helicopter in Lebanon, terror organizations in the Strip will try to arm themselves with anti-aircraft weaponry.
"The threats of antitank and anti-aircraft missiles in Gaza are increasing and we are preparing for that," said the officer.
He stated that the IAF has significantly increased its operations over Gaza, which is why terror organizations are trying to damage aircraft.
"We understand that they are struggling against us, that they're learning lessons from their own experiences and from Lebanon, and we can definitely see an increased effort to smuggle armaments into Gaza."
"We will keep operating in a fitting manner, but we can't promise 100 percent that a helicopter won't be damaged over Gaza," he said.
The officer stated that he can't point to a specific organization possessing such weaponry, since the IAF operates against all terror organizations without distinction.
Gaza armament a strategic problemChief of the Shin Bet Yuval Diskin warned three months ago, in a cabinet meeting, that "the intensification of terror sources in Gaza is a strategic problem which, if not treated properly, will result in a reality like in Lebanon. We don't have to wait three years and then launch investigations."
IDF forces continue to operate against terror infrastructure in northern Gaza, particularly Qassam rockes. The IDF does not intend to extend operations at the current time, and is focusing primarily on rocket-launching areas.
"Our objective is to station ourselves in those areas and operate when necessary," explained a military source from Southern Command. "It's a long and ongoing process that is producing results."
Despite continuing rocket launches from Gaza, the IDF has identified a southward migration of several launching cells and attempted launchings towards the Sufa and Kerem Shalom crossings.
Military sources emphasized that the terror organizations are not only operating in northern Gaza: "There are additional operations, primarily aerial ones, as part of the IDF's comprehensive operation against terror."