It has been reported that 11 planes are missing from the Tripoli International Airport in Libya. Is this true or false?
The report regarding missing Libyan planes has been publicized in recent days by an article published by conservative website Washington Free Beacon. That report has been repeated by such news sites as Fox News and the Daily Mail. The story, without citing sources, warns that missing planes in Libya could be used in attacks on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Photos of militants posing with aircraft have been posted as further proof of the veracity of the story. Those images were taken during a militant siege of the Tripoli Airport last month.
Although 11 aircraft were initially reported missing, it appears that at least some of the planes were later sent to Malta, and reported “partially damaged or completely destroyed.”
Experts have said that if the planes were actually seized by terrorists, they would pose a threat to the immediate region, and not the U.S. homeland.
USA Today reports that State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf refuted the rumor, stating, “We have nothing to confirm these reports about missing airliners.” This sentiment was echoed by a White House National Security Council spokeswoman.
Although militants overran the Tripoli Airport in August 2014, initial reports of missing planes have not been confirmed by government sources. It would also appear that some of the planes may have been accounted for, listed as damaged or destroyed.