US concerned over anti-aircraft missiles in Libya

A large number of man-portable Russian made anti-aircraft missiles SA-7s have gone missing from Libya, raising fears that they could be obtained by terrorists to target civilian airliners.

Updated: Jul 15, 2011, 14:34 PM IST

New York: A large number of man-portable
Russian made anti-aircraft missiles SA-7s have gone missing
from Libya, raising fears that they could be obtained by
terrorists to target civilian airliners.

Stocks of these missiles have gone missing from arms
depot abandoned by forces loyal to Libyan strongman Muammar
Gaddafi as the rebels overran large parts of eastern and
western Libya.

The first batch of these missiles went missing in the
early stages of the Libyan uprising. But the leakage had
resumed recently with rebels gains in western Libya, the New
York Times reported.

New York: A large number of man-portable
Russian made anti-aircraft missiles SA-7s have gone missing
from Libya, raising fears that they could be obtained by
terrorists to target civilian airliners.

Stocks of these missiles have gone missing from arms
depot abandoned by forces loyal to Libyan strongman Muammar
Gaddafi as the rebels overran large parts of eastern and
western Libya.

The first batch of these missiles went missing in the
early stages of the Libyan uprising. But the leakage had
resumed recently with rebels gains in western Libya, the New
York Times reported.

During more than four decade in power, Gaddafi`s
government is thought to have acquired as many as 20,000 of
these missiles, known as Manpads, for Man-Portable Air-Defence
System in the former Eastern bloc.

As the reports of missiles going missing broke out,
Andrew J Shapiro, Assistant Secretary for Political Affairs,
described the unsecured missiles in Libya as "one of the
things that keep me up at night."

The US government has now moved to impress upon the
National Transitional Council of Libya to collect and secure
the missiles and to prevent more from leaking.

Last month, Washington also sent an inter-agency team
to four nations bordering Libya - Algeria, Chad, Mali and
Niger - to inform these governments to monitor such missiles
transshipments.

The President of Chad and high-level Algerian
officials had been quoted as saying that the light weight
missiles have travelled from Libya over their borders to
al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

PTI