Wednesday, June 12, 2013

(Updated) VIDEO Confirmed: SA-7 Missiles Are in Terrorist Hands

A Syrian rebel opens fire on a government helicopter with a shoulder fired missile - the SA-7, Stinger or MANPAD. It's almost sure Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has them too

The video was posted on June 10. It’s unclear what happened afterwards.

UPDATE: Photocopies of SA-7 surface-to-air missile manuals have been found by French forces during their land assault in Mali earlier this year. They also discovered SA-7 battery packs and launch tubes. The manuals lay in stapled stacks, handouts for a class of Al Qaeda aligned fighters. It is a detailed guide, with diagrams and photographs, on how to use the weapon, which is capable of taking down a commercial airplane. The 26-page document in Arabic lay in a building that had been occupied by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Timbuktu.

It confirms that the Al Qaeda cell is actively training its fighters to use these man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADS, which likely came from the arms depots of Libyan tyrant Qaddafi. The impact is significant, not only on the current conflict, but in the fight against Jihadism in general. 

In the spring of 2011, before the fighting in Tripoli had even stopped, a U.S. team flew to Libya to recover Qaddafi's stockpile of thousands of heat-seeking, shoulder-fired missiles. By the time they got there, many had already been looted.

Many have end up in the hands of Syrian rebels. Read in "CIA Involvement in Weapons Transports to Syrian Rebels" how that came about with the mediation of the US Ambassador Chris Stevens, who died in a terrorist attack in Benghazi on 9/11 last year.

First introduced in the 1960s in the Soviet Union, the SA-7 was designed to be portable. Not much larger than a poster tube, it can be packed into a duffel bag and easily carried. It's also affordable, with some SA-7s selling for as little as $5,000.

Since 1975, at least 40 civilian aircraft have been hit by different types of MANPADS, causing about 28 crashes and more than 800 deaths around the world, according to the U.S. Department of State. Read more