Daily Jambo

Libyan Islamist rebels pose with planes seized from Tripoli airport

Published: 03.09.2014
Reading time: 11 minutes


Libyan terrorists have posted pictures of themselves online posing with some of the aeroplanes taken from Tripoli airport after fighters seized it last month.

Soldiers from the group Libyan Dawn can be seen climbing on to the wings of commercial jets while smiling and waving for the camera.

U.S. officials fear that these aeroplanes could now be used to carry out 9/11-style attacks in the region on the anniversary of the tragedy this month.

A total of 11 commercial jets from state-owned carriers Libyan Airlines and Afriqiyah Airways went missing in August after militants from the so-called 'masked men brigade' overran the airport.

Officials have been warning for some time about the deteriorating situation in Libya, which was controlled by dictator Muammar Gaddaffi until he was killed in October 2011.

'There are a number of commercial airliners in Libya that are missing,' one official told the Washington Free-Beacon. 'We found out on September 11 what can happen with hijacked planes.'

September 11 not only marks the anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center but it will also be the second anniversary of the  raid of the U.S. Ambassador's compound in Benghazi, Libya.

Four Americans were killed in the attack, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. 

Ansar al-Shariah, the group Washington holds responsible for the attack, have also seized parts of the Libyan capital and are known to work with terrorists from ISIS.

However they are not thought to be working with fighters from Libyan Dawn, as they are an Al-Qaeda affiliated group.

Tripoli International Airport was being run by two anti-Islamist militias and had been closed since mid-July when it was taken over at the end of August by the group Libyan Dawn. 

Tripoli is witnessing one of its worst spasms of violence since Gaddaffi left power. The militias, many of which originate from rebel forces that fought Gaddaffi, became powerful players in post-war Libya, filling a void left by weak police and a shattered army. 

Successive governments have put militias on their payroll in return for maintaining order, but rivalries over control and resources have led to fierce fighting among them and posed a constant challenge to the central government and a hoped-for transition to democracy.

On Sunday,  the Libyan government announced that they had lost control of the capital.

Ansar al-Sharia has ties to the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), the Syrian group which today released the filmed beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff - the second recorded execution of a U.S. hostage by the group.

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