While there continue to be concerns about Libya’s unconventional weapons and potential “dirty bomb” material, lighter conventional weapons are already reported to be on the market. And there also remains the possibility of a second “storefront” opening up upon the fall of the Assad regime.
“‘Gaza militants have Libyan arms’,” from Reuters, August 29:
Palestinians in Gaza have acquired anti-aircraft and anti-tank rockets from Libya during its six-month civil war, enlarging but not significantly improving their arsenal, Israeli officials said on Monday.
While the rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi has stirred concern abroad about the fate of Libya’s ageing chemical weapons stockpiles, Israel has no indication Hamas or other Palestinian factions have sought these, the officials said.
Instead, Israeli officials have detected an inflow of SA-7 anti-aircraft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), said one official, describing an overland supply route that opened up between eastern Libya — after it fell to the rebels — and the Gaza Strip via Egypt.
“We’ve been seeing more SA-7s and RPGs coming across,” said the official. “It’s not a major qualitative enhancement for them.”
The Soviet-designed SA-7 is a shoulder-fired, heat-seeking missile which Israel said Palestinians had previously smuggled into Gaza. Rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), designed to penetrate armour, are plentiful in the territory.
Another Israeli official said “thousands” of the weapons had reached Gaza in recent months, but did not provide figures on how many had originated in Libya.
Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, which borders both Israel and Gaza, has long seen traffic in arms bound for Palestinians. The weapons come up through Sudan or arrive by ship over the Mediterranean.
State television reported in Cairo Monday that Egyptian border guards had discovered “a large quantity” of weapons at the border with Libya, giving no more details….