Al Qaeda has reportedly been smuggling loot from Libyan rebel weapon stockpiles over the past few days. And most disconcertingly, the North African wing of the terrorist group may have obtained shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, Reuters reports:
[An Algerian] official said a convoy of eight Toyota pick-up trucks left eastern Libya, crossed into Chad and then Niger, and from there into northern Mali where in the past few days it delivered a cargo of weapons. He said the weapons included Russian-made RPG-7 anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades, Kalashnikov heavy machine guns, Kalashnikov rifles, explosives and ammunition. He also said he had information that al Qaeda’s north African wing, known as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), had acquired from Libya Russian-made shoulder-fired Strela surface-to-air missiles known by the NATO designation SAM-7.
At the Washington Examiner, Sara Carter notes that surface-to-air missiles would be “a devastating weapon” if acquired by al Qaeda, since they would allow the terror group to easily take down planes. The CIA presence on the ground is even more critical in light of this report. Not only does the agency need to root out infiltration by al Qaeda fighters among the rebel forces, but it should also be keeping close tabs on weapon stockpiles to prevent this type of smuggling from taking place again.