Libyan government fighters based in Tripoli said on Saturday that they seized sophisticated U.S. and Chinese rockets as well as drones when they captured a rebel base in the mountains south of Tripoli last week.
Libya’s forces captured Gharyan, south of the capital on Wednesday which eastern forces loyal to the rebel group had used as their main supply base to attack the capital Tripoli.
According to Reuters, officials showed newsmen the weapons they said had been seized, among which were sophisticated U.S.-made Javelin anti-tank missiles.
Officials also presented advanced Chinese-made laser-guided artillery shells, and said combat drones were also captured, in addition to some 150 prisoners.
The four Javelin anti-tank missiles, which reportedly cost more than $170,000 each, had ended up bolstering the arsenal of the rebel group under Gen. Khalifa Haftar, whose forces are waging a military campaign to take over Libya and overthrow a government that the U.S supports.
Israeli’s security analyst and deputy chief intelligence officer of the MAX consultancy, Oded Berkowitz, said it was the first time that Javelins had been sighted in the Libya conflict.
“The weapons themselves are highly advanced but wouldn’t be a game changer in Libya,” he said. “The real political game changer is the fact that advanced U.S. systems were delivered to a third party, and this may push the U.S. to oppose the UAE and their support for the LNA.”
Inscriptions on the Javelin missiles show they had originally belonged to the armed forces of the United Arab Emirates, one of Haftar’s main backers.
The United Nations has previously accused the UAE and Egypt of arming Haftar’s Libya National Army (LNA) since 2014, but details have been unclear since the U.N published the report.