Surface-to-Air Missile Attack in Sinai Spells Trouble for Israeli Airliners


elalThe downing of an Egyptian military helicopter in the Sinai region of the country by Islamist terrorists apparently using, for the first time, a surface-to-air missile represents a significant intensification of the violence there – and has implications beyond the troubled Sinai.

If the terrorists have more surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) they could endanger commercial airliners landing and taking off many times a day at Eilat, the Israeli resort city that sits on the tiny sliver of the Red Sea coast inside Israel. The flight approach to the Eilat airport comes uncomfortably close to Sinai foothills on the Egyptian side of the border. Ground-to-ground missiles are sometimes fired from the Sinai toward Eilat, including a couple of Grad rockets seven days ago.

The helicopter attack in Sinai is apparently shown in a video released by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, or Ansar Jerusalem, a group aligned with al-Qaeda.

So can anything be done to make the civilian airline traffic at Eilat safe? It’s a difficult challenge. Israeli security and aviation authorities actually closed the airport briefly last August. Flight paths have also been altered, to avoid points of greatest vulnerability. In the longer term, a new airport is planned, further inland, but it will not be completed for months at the earliest. Read more at TIME.

{ Israel News Bureau}


  1. Don’t forget – it was Egypt using SAM’s to bring down Israeli warplanes that allowed them to cross into Sinai in 1973. SAM’s and hand-held anti-tank grenades cost us many, many lives. This is bad news – for Egypt and for us.