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Friday, September 16, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Documents from Gadhafi compound suggest Russia sent 5,000 SAM missiles to Libya

CAIRO — Libyan rebels are finding Scud-class ballistic missiles in abandoned army arsenals.


Western diplomats said troops from the National Transitional Council have captured arsenals of Col. Moammar Gadhafi that contained Scud B missiles, with a range of 300 kilometers. They said the rebels were failing to secure scores of missiles found over the last few weeks.

Documents found in Gadhafi's compound suggest that Russia delivered more than 5,000 SAM-7B surface-to-air missiles. Many of the missiles are said to have been deployed during the six-month revolt in Libya in 2011.

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"We are taking seriously all reports about weapons falling into the hands of terrorists and we are doing our best to follow up these reports," U.S. counter-terrorism coordinator Daniel Benjamin said.

The European Union and United States have sought to secure Gadhafi's arsenals, particularly those of Scuds and weapons of mass destruction. Diplomats said the biggest fear was that the Scuds could fall into the hands of Al Qaida.

"We are in a state of war, and Gadhafi definitely left some weapons and mines," Libyan rebel Gen. Omar Hariri said.

Diplomats said it was uncertain how many Scuds were in the possession of the rebels. The United States has estimated that Gadhafi stored 400 Scud Bs, many of them believed inoperable.

During the six-month war, Gadhafi fired at least four Scuds toward rebel positions. At a missile site about 25 kilometers southeast of Tripoli, a Scud B was left unsecured and became an attraction for sight-seers. The Scud contains a one-ton conventional warhead.

"We have a group of military engineers who are specialized in finding out and digging out such weapons and such mines," Hariri said. "It is only a matter of days before we are clearing all of these mines and gathering Gadhafi's weapons."

"They [Al Qaida] gained access to weapons, either small arms or machine-guns, or certain surface-to-air missiles which are extremely dangerous because they pose a risk to flights over the territory," EU counter-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove said.

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