Sep 26, 2012 01:29
The commander of a powerful Libyan militia said Monday that looters had stolen “a large number” of shoulder-fired, heat-seeking missiles from the militia’s base when protesters who called for dismantling the country’s militias overran the compound, The Washington Post reports from Benghazi.
Ismail Salabi, the commander of Rafallah al-Sahati, a powerful Islamist militia in Benghazi, said in an interview that the missiles, used by fighters to “hit airplanes” and known to the US intelligence community as MANPADS (man-portable air-defense systems), were stolen along with 2,000 semiautomatic rifles and ammunition, as the militia withdrew from its base amid a firefight early Saturday.
Salabi said he feared the missiles could end up in the hands of Al Qaida terrorists.
The Libyan authorities are trying to put together a national army and force the rebels to surrender their arms they obtained during the recent war in a move that enjoys the full support of the residents of Benghazi and many other cities across the country.