The SA-24s are portable and designed to target aircraft. This has made them a much desired commodity for the various militant groups in the region. Experts say that Libya had enough of these weapons to turn the northern half of Africa into one big no-fly zone.
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It’s a story almost as old as the war itself. When the NATO-backed NTC was in the process of occupying Tripoli, they left a number of massive weapons warehouses in the Libyan capital entirely unguarded, and the arsenal was quickly carried out the front door by looters.
Many types of weapons went missing. The Tuareg mercenaries showed up in northern Mali sporting shiny new assault rifles for their insurgency. For the US, however, the focus has been on the SA-24 shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles.
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