Al-Qaeda Grabbing Weapons in Libya: Report

RPGs, Kalashnikovs and missiles finding their way into terrorist hands
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2011 11:13 AM CDT
Libyan civilians are seen at a rebel training camp during instruction on weapon use by former officers in the Libyan army in Benghazi, April 03, 2011.   (Getty Images/AFP)
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(Newser) – Al-Qaeda has emerged as a kid in a candy store in Libya, exploiting the conflict to get its hands on such high-powered weapons as anti-tank RPGs, Kalashnikov heavy machine guns, and even surface-to-air missiles, an Algerian security official tells Reuters. According to the official, a convoy of eight Toyota pick-up trucks recently carried a huge cache of weapons out of eastern Libya, carrying them through Chad and Niger, and finally delivering them in Mali.

The official said they had intelligence that those weapons had gone to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the terrorist group’s northern African franchise. “And we know that this is not the first convoy and that it is still ongoing,” he added. “Several military barracks have been pillaged in this region” and AQIM “could not have failed to profit from this opportunity.” AQIM has long had good relations with the smugglers that routinely zip across Libya, and has likely tasked them with getting the guns. (There are also "flickers" of evidence that there are al-Qaeda fighters among the Libyan rebels.)

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