Fear of second 9/11 terror attack after Islamist militants steal 11 commercial planes in Libya
Tripoli, Libya: Islamist militants are thought to have stolen 11 commercial jets in Libya, sparking fears of a 9/11-style attack around the anniversary of the terrorist atrocity.
The planes went missing from Tripoli airport in August after Libyan Dawn rebels took over the county’s capital, according US to intelligence reports.
As a result, the Washington Free-Beacon says intelligence officials have been told in the last two weeks of the possibility that one of more jetliners may be used in an attack around the 13th anniversary of September 11, or the second anniversary of the deadly attack on America’s diplomatic compound in Benghazi.
One official told the paper: “There are a number of commercial airliners in Libya that are missing.
“We found out on September 11 what can happen to hijacked planes.”
Reports of the missing planes are yet to be officially confirmed, but intelligence agencies are said to be trying to locate all planes owned by Libya’s two state-owned airlines.
A Moroccan military expert, Abderrahmane Mekkaoui, told Al Jazeera the missing jets were being held by a group called the Masked Men Brigade who are thought to have links to al Qaeda and terrorist organisation Ansar al Sharia.
He said the threat of an attack spread from Cairo to Lagos and claimed the Masked Men Brigade “is plotting to use the planes in attacks on a Maghreb state” on the anniversary of 9/11.
Counterterrorism expert Sebastian Gorka added that the planes could either be used as a “super-high precision guided missile”, as they were on September 11 2001, or to bring in a large number of armed terrorists to locations open to commercial airlines.
Tripoli airport has been closed since mid-July, and the Libyan government said over the weekend that it no longer has control of the capital.