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US, Libyan bomb disposal specialists secure 5,000 surface-to-air missiles near Tripoli

Ismail Zitouni / Reuters

A MANPAD (Man-Portable Air Defense Systems) missile is detonated along the shore, east of the Libyan capital Tripoli, on Dec. 11. A top U.S. official said that a team of U.S. and Libyan bomb-disposal specialists has secured about 5,000 surface-to-air missiles.

Mahmud Turkia / AFP - Getty Images

Andrew Shapiro, U.S. assistant secretary of state for political and military affairs, second from right, and his delegation gather around MANPAD missiles in the village of Sidi Bin Nur, Libya, Dec. 11.

According to AP:

On Sunday, a team of U.S. weapons experts disposed of some 1,300 pounds (600 kilograms) of ordnance deep in the sand just outside Tripoli.

"Our goal is to help the Libyan people to secure these loose arms," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Andrew Shapiro, who was on hand to watch along with the U.S. ambassador.

He said that since September, American experts have disabled around 5,000 shoulder-fired missile launchers — weapons that Western and Libyan officials have expressed concerns about because they pose a threat to civil aviation.

Read the full story about today's happenings in Libya here.

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