Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Experts Worry About Libya's 20,000 SAMs

Experts are worried that at least part of Libya's massive inventory of man-portable surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) might fall into the hands of terrorists. Fighting between Muammar al-Qadhafi loyalists and rebels make it difficult to determine who is in control of this inventory.

Libya has more than 20,000 missile launchers in inventory. There are unconfirmed reports that some anti-aircraft weapons have already been funneled to North African militants. Chad claims a cache of Libya SAMs already have reached al-Qaeda's North African affiliate, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Similar accounts have come from Algerian officials. These reports are unconfirmed.

Russian sources say Libya has between 600 and 1,500 1980s-vintage Russian-made portable SAMs. Some pictures from the frontlines show advanced Strelets vehicle-mounted launchers capable of firing new SA-24 Grinch missiles

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