There Are a Bunch of Missing Surface-to-Air Missiles in Libya

No one know who looted a cache of weapons that can shoot down high-flying aircraft,

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So, here's something to be terrified of: a ton of shoulder-mounted missiles are now missing in Libya and no one quite knows who has them right now. CNN's Ben Wedeman is reporting that a stash of surface-to-air missiles have disappeared from a Tripoli storage warehouse. The missiles, which are designed to shoot down high-flying aircraft (i.e. drones), are described as Russian-made Grinch SA-24 shoulder-launched missiles. The most disturbing part of the report is that the event isn't isolated. Human Rights Watch emergency director Peter Boukaert recounts a string of similar incidents to the news outlet:

[He] told CNN he has seen the same pattern in armories looted elsewhere in Libya, noting that "in every city we arrive, the first thing to disappear are the surface-to-air missiles." He said such missiles can fetch many thousands of dollars on the black market. "We are talking about some 20,000 surface-to-air missiles in all of Libya, and I've seen cars packed with them." he said. "They could turn all of North Africa into a no-fly zone."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.