In the wake of Islamic Jihadists almost completely overrunning Libya, the same terrorists have threatened to attack the nearest European nation, specifically, the Italian Republic. As reported by the Breitbart.com news portal on Feb. 19, 2015, the descendants of the Roman Empire are preparing for the distinct possibly of a 9/11 redux, complete with stolen jetliners.
As the Italian Secret Service warned the military that commandeered civilian jetliners were being "prepared" for a mission that the Italians have so far kept from the public. As reported, an undisclosed number of aircraft are being readied in the coastal city of Sirte, a rather short distance of 450 miles to Palermo, or 700 miles to Rome.
As Breitbart.com noted on Feb. 15, 2015, in an ISIS released video that featured the brutal slaying of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, the spokesman of killers plainly said to the camera, "And we will conquer Rome, by Allah's permission, the promise of our Prophet, peace be upon him."
While our Italian NATO allies are fully aware of the "asymmetric" capabilities of the terrorists to launch "both military and terrorist campaigns," the Forze Armate Italiane aren't taking any chances. Reportedly, the Italian air defense system went into high alert after the notification by the Secret Service that the terrorists were preparing for something big.
While many Western news organizations paid scant attention, the Washington Free Beacon reported on Sept. 2, 2014 that with the fall of the Tripoli International Airport, a number of jet airliners have been seized intact by the terrorists. Calling themselves by the macho moniker of The Masked Men Brigade, the group not only controls the airport proper, but now reportedly has custody of upwards of 11 aircraft belonging to both Libyan Airways as well as Afriqiyah Airways.
While the specific type of aircraft the seized jetliners are hasn't been released to the public, it was noted that the state-owned Libyan Airlines fleet until the summer of 2014 included 14 passenger and cargo jetliners, including seven Airbus 320s, one Airbus 330, two French ATR-42 turboprop aircraft, and four Bombardier CJR-900s. Afriqiyah Airways fleet is made up of 13 aircraft, including three Airbus 319s, seven Airbus 320s, two Airbus 330s, and one Airbus 340.
The Masked Men Brigade operates under the organizational umbrella of both al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia—the very same terrorists who attacked the American Consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. Since the fall of eastern Libya to the jihadists, ISIS has emerged as the figurative big dog in the yard, with the various self-styled "militias" have rallied to the banner if ISIS.
With the jets of both airlines forming a de facto suicide air force, Moroccan military expert Abderrahmane Mekkaoui was quoted that he has "credible intelligence" that the Masked Men Brigade "is plotting to use the planes in attacks on a Maghreb [North African] state" on the 9/11 anniversary. According to counter-terrorism expert Dr. Sebastian von Gorka, if the theft is confirmed, the stolen aircraft could be used in at least two ways.
“The first would be how commercial airliners were used on Sept. 11, 2001, literally turning an innocent mode of mass transit into a super-high precision guided missile of immense potency,” he said, adding "The second tactic could be to use the airframe with its civilian markings as a tool of deception to insert a full payload of armed terrorists into a locale that otherwise is always open to commercial carriers."
Dr. von Gorka holds the Major General Matthew C. Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory, Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia, as well as being an Associate Professor of War & Conflict Studies at the National Defense University and also is an Adjunct Professor (US National Security) at Georgetown University.