The US media network Fox News reported Wednesday that highly sensitive US military equipment and weapons stored in Libya were stolen over the summer by groups likely aligned and working with terrorist organizations.
The network said State Department sources asserted that raids on a military training camp contributed to an American decision to pull Special Forces personnel from Libya.
The stolen equipment had been used by US Special Forces stationed in Libya and “included dozens of M4 rifles, night-vision technology and lasers used as aiming devices that are mounted on guns and can only be seen with night-vision equipment,” Fox News said.
The overnight raids happened at a military training camp, commonly known as Camp 27 or 32 Brigade Camp, 27 kms west of Tripoli, was run by American Special Forces at the time led the US team to be pulled from the country in August.
Underlining the implications of what happened, the official source told the network “this stuff is how we win wars. The enemy doesn’t have that”.
The Libyan government had never revealed what happened and has kept the pubic in dark despite the dangers to the security of the Libyan people such incident could imply.
The raids themselves were portrayed as usual conflicts between the tribes of Zawia and Werrshifana that have become common throughout Libya.
The raids and stolen equipment quickly caused a rift among US Special Forces, Libyan military leaders and ultimately the US State Department, Fox News said.
“They [the Libyans] didn’t want anything to go wrong and they didn’t want to take the blame. Sensitive items were taken,” one source said. “Bad guys can now shoot people at night with no signature.”
“In response to an exclusive Fox News report last month about the trainers being pulled from Libya, multiple Pentagon officials claim that the 1208 trainers whose camp was raided were not there to track the Benghazi suspects” officials said ad quoted by Fox News.
The Libya training mission was important, it was partly a cover for US operations in Libya to hunt down those responsible for killing Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others. But none has been arrested so far and the Libyan public is kept in the dark about what is going in their own country.
That US team was funded by the Department of Defense Section 1208, which provides support to assist and stand up foreign counterterrorism forces in other countries. And in the case of Libya, the trainers were also tasked with hunting down the Benghazi attack suspects that killed four Americans one year ago, Fox News reported.
“The loss of this military equipment is what pulled the plug on the US operation,” one source with direct knowledge of the events told Fox News. “No one at the State Department wanted to deal with the situation if any more went wrong, so State pulled its support for the training program and then began to try and get the team moved out of the country.”
The 12-member American team was not at the training camp when either raid occurred, as they regularly stayed at a nearby villa that served as a safehouse at night.
This article was originally published here.