Last month, Islamist radicals seized Tripoli International Airport and took possession of as many as 11 commercial jetliners, according to a report from Magharebia, an online news site covering North Africa.
News of the stolen planes have now created concerns for officials, who fear the militants may use them to carry out acts of terrorism against America.
“Libya is now a source of danger not only for neighbouring Maghreb countries, but for all countries of the world,” said a Moroccan reporter shortly after news broke of the stolen jetliners.
According to veteran reporter Bill Gertz, U.S. officials said that they received intelligence indicating eleven commercial aircraft could be used to attack New York City or Washington, D.C. on the anniversary of the September, 11, 2001 jihadi attacks on America.
“There are a number of commercial airliners in Libya that are missing. We found out on September 11 what can happen with hijacked planes,” said one unidentified government official.
Tripoli Airport is currently occupied by two rival groups deemed “terrorists” by the Libyan parliament: Misrata and Zintan, who had previously worked together to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi.
On Monday, Libyan officials announced that their capital city in Tripoli had been completely lost to Islamist forces. Libyan PM Abdullah al-Thani, who recently stepped down from his role, said: “Ministry and state offices in Tripoli have been occupied by armed militias who are preventing government workers from entering and are threatening their superiors,” explaining that he was “trying to ensure the continuity of services from afar.”
An abandoned U.S. embassy compound was overrun by jihadi forces Sunday, as Islamist fighters announced they had “secured” the facility. Videos surfaced showcasing the Islamist fighters celebrating their seizure by jumping off of the balcony into the compound’s swimming pool.