ISIS Now Possesses Anti-Aircraft Missiles; Can Reach Europe
The U.S. and U.N. have confirmed the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in Libya now possesses shoulder-held missiles capable of downing civilian or military aircraft.
The admission puts planes in North and West Africa as well as all of Europe in danger.
The Islamic State’s stock of MANPADs (man portable air defense systems) originated from the stockpiles of weapons looted after Libya’s dictator Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown by rebels in 2011.
Gaddafi was believed to have possessed 20,000 MANPADs (Russian-made SA-7 and SA-16 models) by the time of his demise. An American team, acting in Libya after the coup, managed to locate and destroy 5,000 of the missiles.
The team leader, speaking on the condition of anonymity told The Independent, “There’s a large number still there in Libya, where some of the larger militia groups still maintain the stocks that they originally took control of back in 2011.” He acknowledged that others have been smuggled to extremist groups fighting in the Sinai, Syria, Nigeria and Mali.
“We might never know where they went,” he added.
After the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, which also housed a secret CIA post, intelligence sources — crucial to tracking these weapons – were lost. Two years later, the team pulled out of Libya entirely, as the deteriorating security situation turned into a full-fledged
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