Egypt Interior Ministry: Libyan Weapons Smugglers Stopped, Arms Seized En Route to Gaza

Shipment Included 138 Rockets

Weapons smuggling out of Libya already caused one regime change in Mali, and even if it has outlived its brief period as a headline story, the weapons are still a major issue, with Egypt reporting a major bust today.

According to Egypt’s Interior Ministry, the government seized a smuggled cache of arms, including 138 rockets, which the smugglers hope to take to the Gaza Strip and sell to militant factions in the tiny enclave.

The NATO-backed civil war in Libya ousted the Gadhafi regime, but the new rulers did little to secure to old regime’s massive weapons caches, meaning much of it had been looted by smugglers in the wake of the conflict. Since then the weapons have cropped up across northern Africa.

The exact type of rockets seized in this case was not announced, but many of them have been shoulder-mounted anti-aircraft missiles in the past, with the Gadhafi regime reportedly having enough such weapons to turn the whole northern half of Africa into a “no-fly zone.” With Israeli warplanes pounding Gaza on a regular basis,  anti-aircraft weapons could be a big seller in the area.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.