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Are American weapons being used by jihadists in the Sinai?



Since the ouster of Mohammed Morsi from the presidency of Egypt on July 3, there has been a noticeable uptick in the number of attacks against security personnel and installations in the Sinai Peninsula. Eight army checkpoints were attacked on Monday alone, according to Ma'an News Agency.

New claims from Egypt's Interior Ministry suggest that in an attack over the weekend, a US-made missile may have been fired by militants at a security installation in el Arish.

The Times of Israel reports:

Jihadists attacked the Egyptian security headquarters in northern Sinai ostensibly using an American-made ballistic missile, Egypt's interior ministry said early Monday morning.

In a statement posted on its official Facebook page, the ministry said the missile, which it said was made by the US, hit the third floor of the building in the city of el-Arish on Sunday evening, injuring three soldiers.

Along with its statement, the Interior Ministry released three photos of the alleged missile, which appears to be labeled as an AGM-114F.


Sinai Jihadists Missile - Interior Ministry 2.jpg
Sinai Jihadists Missile - Interior Ministry 1.jpg
Sinai Jihadists Missile - Interior Ministry 3.jpg



READER COMMENTS: "Are American weapons being used by jihadists in the Sinai?"

Posted by Celtiberian at July 30, 2013 11:41 AM ET:

wow! Hellfire II anti-tank missile??

Where this come from? Stolen from egypt army depots? I hope Obama has not started to deliver these toys to the "syrian" rebels!

Posted by bob at July 30, 2013 11:43 AM ET:

bad

Posted by mike merlo at July 30, 2013 12:12 PM ET:

The Egyptian Military is heavily infiltrated & infected by AQ types & Salafist's along with their accompanying dogma & doctrine so it should come as no surprise that US weapons & war making material should show up in their possession.

Posted by will at July 30, 2013 2:02 PM ET:

so, someone shot a hellfire at an egyptian security hq? Did someone get a little loose at the controls of helicopter or did the US sell ground launchers to folks as well?

Posted by blert at July 30, 2013 3:43 PM ET:


AGM-114F Interim Hellfire

Target: Tanks, armored vehicles.
Range: 7,000 m (7,650 yd)
Guidance: Semi-active laser homing.
Warhead: 9 kg (20 lb) tandem shaped charge HEAT.
Length: 180 cm (71 in)
Weight: 48.5 kg (107 lb)

From:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AGM-114

Operators are many...

Egypt, Qatar, Lebanon, Iraq, ... CIA...

It is a missile normally air launched; but it has been tested from a ground based launcher. (Not adopted.)

In this particular instance, one must presume that this Hellfire missile has been re-purposed from Egyptian stocks.

Posted by LPD-RI at July 30, 2013 9:33 PM ET:

Well a Hellfire is certainly not a 'ballistic' missile.

As far as where it came from...I'm sure it's already known; it would be as simple as enlarging these photos and looking up the serial # of the missile.

One observation about Hellfires I must make, after having watched the war on terror closely: the tail section of the missile, which has the serial plate on it, often survives a strike intact. These make the missiles easy to trace back to the US, for better and for worse.

Posted by LPD-RI at July 30, 2013 10:09 PM ET:

As far as my speculation on how the militants acquired and targeted a Hellfire: it is certainly an interesting and troubling question, and raises other questions. But the possibility of errant targeting by a friendly Egyptian Air Force AH-64 seems the most likely answer.

The initial question (if the story is taken at face value) is if the missile was stolen from Egyptian Air Force stocks, as the EAF operates a large number (47) of AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, and the Hellfire is the Apache's primary weapon. Considering the clear "US" stenciling on the midsection of the missile, it would raise big alarm bells as to where this missile was stolen from: Was it a rogue element in the Egyptian Air Force that provided the missile to a terror group? Did simple security incompetence at a local EAF installation allow terrorists to sneak in and steal one or more Hellfires?

There is also no doubt in my mind that, if this missile was indeed used in the attack by a terror group, it was fired from the ground. Considering the effort and technical expertise that would need to be expended by a terror group to create a stable mount for firing the missile, the likelihood of friendly fire by an Egyptian AH-64 seems to grow. That likelihood grows further if the insignificant target is considered: why, if terrorists had a powerful missile that could hit anything (even a moving target), would they target a small-time local security installation in the Sinai?

Further, the AGM-114F is a Semi-Active Laser homing missile, meaning its target needs to be illuminated by laser. I don't know, however, exactly what type of laser must be used for the seeker in the missile to track it. Are there algorithms in the missile to only track a certain type or power of laser? I highly doubt a laser pointer bought at the local Egyptian Wal-Mart would be sufficient to guide a Hellfire, so it begs the question: where did militants acquire a Hellfire AND a high-powered target designating laser, and the skills to use it?

Needless to say, if terrorist groups have A) stolen other Hellfires from EAF, and B) have the ability to transport and target them, it would raise a huge new and rather alarming threat on the Sinai.

With the scant facts available, I would lean towards a 'friendly-fire' scenario: an Egyptain Apache, in error, hit a local Egyptian security installation, and the local government posted the evidence on Facebook before the national government could stop them.

Posted by LPD-RI at July 30, 2013 10:33 PM ET:

One last note: the Hellfire had been adapted for use on the Humvee and other armored vehicles. Therefore it is possible that the vehicle and/or weapon were stolen from Egyptian army stocks.

It is also possible that a pro-Morsi defector/traitor was involved, which would explain the expertise necessary to successfully target the weapon.

Posted by My2Cents at July 31, 2013 3:30 AM ET:

Hellfire missile. The serial number is also intact so they can trace which country it was sold to.

Anyone care to bet it came from Egyptian inventory?

Posted by jmccormick at July 31, 2013 8:26 AM ET:

AGM114 is Hellfire missile which is air launched

Posted by dm at July 31, 2013 10:47 AM ET:

I've seen a lot of Hellfire's employed, and for one to be that intact along with the significant lack of rubble around it, I doubt that missile was even shot. I'm not EOD trained, but this to me looks to be likely one of two things:
1. It was used as an IED. someone strapped another bomb to it thinking that the Hellfire would make it a larger boom.
2. It was a dud (Hellfires have an extremely low dud rate). Even if it was a dud, Hellfires break the sound barrier very quickly, so even plowing through a building, that would likely not stop it.

My guess would be IED style employment. Terror groups cannot employ that weapon, there is no way. There would not be a way for them to improvise a launch method, nor would it be worth the significan effort to do so. It's much easier to strap some home-made explosives to it and blow it up.

Is it possible that an AH-64 from the EAF fired it? Sure, and it could be a dud. There's also the possibility that it was a dud from a previous engagement and someone picked up the pieces and have planted it in a manner to implicate US involvement in some way.

Either way, terror groups did not launch this missile.

Posted by deep jungle at July 31, 2013 5:32 PM ET:

Looking closely at two of the pictures there is grey/green stencilled lettering visible. "US" (clearly) and what could be the remnants of "ARMY".

Would Hellfires supplied to foreign countries carry this ID ?

Posted by a at August 1, 2013 6:29 AM ET:

AGM-114F Interim Hellfire

Target: Tanks, armored vehicles.
Range: 7,000 m (7,650 yd)
Guidance: Semi-active laser homing.
Warhead: 9 kg (20 lb) tandem shaped charge HEAT.
Length: 180 cm (71 in)
Weight: 48.5 kg (107 lb)

From:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AGM-114

Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2013/07/are_american_weapons_being_use.php#ixzz2aiD2Og9h

Posted by lilyredrose at August 2, 2013 4:54 PM ET:

I have faith that some good guys sabotaged the weapons before they were transferred. Americans ingenuity, love it.