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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/12/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Evidence uncovered in Mali reveals missiles have fallen into Al Qaeda hands.

Counter-terrorism experts now believe that Al Qaeda is in possession of deadly surface-to-air missiles which could be used to down a passenger airliner. This shocking revelation came after an Al Qaeda user's manual for the SA-7 surface-to-air missile was found among Al Qaeda documents in Timbuktu.

An SA-3 Grail missile, capable of downing a passenger jet.

An SA-3 Grail missile, capable of downing a passenger jet.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/12/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Al Qaeda, missiles, Grail, terrorists, tactics, airliners


TIMBUKTU, MALI (Catholic Online) - A 26 page document found in a facility once used by Al Qaeda, contains detailed instructions on how an operative should use a deadly SA-7 "Grail" surface to air missile. Several of these missiles went missing following Qaddafi's fall in Libya.

The Grail is a heat-seeking missile meaning that it will home in on the exhaust of a jet engine. This makes civilian airliners particularly vulnerable, because they have no countermeasures to defeat such a weapon. A well-placed terrorist outside a busy airport could shoot down passenger plane with hundreds of souls aboard, using just one missile.

If there is any consolation, the weapons are not easy to use and require special training, hence the instruction manual.

The instruction manual was found by the Associated Press reporters who sifted through documents left in an abandoned Al Qaeda compound. the compound was abandoned as the terrorists fled French forces closing in on Timbuktu.

The manual is 26 pages long and has been translated into Arabic, strong evidence to suggest that the terrorists have these weapons in their possession. The missiles were originally manufactured by the Soviet Union.

The manual tells the user precisely how to prepare and use the weapon, and instructs him to immediately changed his clothing to avoid detection after firing the weapon. The manual has been edited by the terrorists to conform to their tactics.

For now, there is no reason to believe that weapons have been smuggled abroad and they likely remain in North Africa where terrorists could be preparing to use them against French supply aircraft ferrying personnel and material into Mali.

Aircraft have already been instructed to make steep takeoffs and landings to minimize their potential exposure to the weapon. The weapon has a short effective range so that it cannot strike high-flying aircraft.

Military aircraft have countermeasures which can defeat the missile, and according to the manual the missile does not work well when the outside temperature is above 110F.

It is unknown how many such missiles to terrorists may possess.

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