Islamist militias in Libya took control eleven (11) commercial jetliners last month, and western intelligence agencies recently issued a warning that the jets could be used in terrorist attacks.
While counterterrorism officials are reportedly concerned that the missing jetliners could be used by terrorists to carry out deadly attacks, the timing of the theft is also setting off alarms. The concern is that radical Islamist groups will use the planes to mark the anniversary of the deadly 9/11 attacks, according to alleged intelligence reports disseminated within the U.S. government.
The eleven commercial airliners have gone missing in Tripoli, and U.S. intelligence officials are now openly warning that those jets could be weaponized to launch terrorism attack on U.S. cities.
“…western intelligence agencies recently issued a warning that the jets could be used in terrorist attacks across North Africa,” reports the The Washington Free Beacon. Intelligence reports included a warning that one or more of the aircraft could be used in an attack later this month on the date marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against New York and Washington, said U.S. officials familiar with the reports.’
“The official said the aircraft are a serious counter-terrorism concern because reports of terrorist control over the Libyan airliners come three weeks before the 13th anniversary of 9/11 attacks and the second anniversary of the Libyan terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi,” reports the Free Beacon.
Senior military intelligence speculate that U.S. cities might be targeted by these weaponized aircraft. Because of flight path proximity, the most likely cities to be targeted by terrorists flying commercial jets would reside on the East Coast of the United States. Therefore, it’s only logical to conclude that the most likely city targets would include New York, Washington D.C., Boston, Miami, Philadelphia and so on.
The officials said U.S. intelligence agencies have not confirmed the aircraft theft following the takeover of Tripoli International Airport in late August, and are attempting to locate all aircraft owned by two Libyan state-owned airline companies, as security in the country continued to deteriorate amid fighting between Islamists and anti-Islamist militias.
Michael Rubin, a counterterrorism specialist with the American Enterprise Institute, said commercial jetliners in the hands of terrorists could be formidable weapons.
“Who needs ballistic missiles when you have passenger planes? Even empty, but loaded up with fuel they can be as devastating,” Rubin said.
“Each plane could, if deployed by terrorists to maximum devastating effect, represent 1,000 civilian casualties.”
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