Looted Missiles, Weapons Go Missing in Libya
Officials fear they're headed to al-Qaeda via the black market
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2011 1:48 PM CDT
A rebel military chief checks a case during a raid to find illegal weapons near Tripoli.   (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

(Newser) – Moammar Gadhafi's days as a free man might be numbered, but Libya and perhaps all of North Africa might have a long-term side effect to deal with: Top-notch weapons and missiles are being stolen left and right from Gadhafi's warehouses across the country, reports CNN. Human Rights Watch officials fear that looters are selling the bounty on the black market to al-Qaeda militants or nations such as Iran.

"We are talking about some 20,000 surface-to-air missiles in all of Libya, and I've seen cars packed with them," says one HRW representative. "They could turn all of North Africa into a no-fly zone." Government officials in neighboring Chad and Niger say they already have seen evidence of Libyan weapons, including the plastic explosive Semtex, being smuggled over the border.