Nine countries of the Western Mediterranean Basin are preparing to conduct joint combat exercises to counter any potential terrorist attack using military or commercial aircraft stolen from Libya, the Anadolu news agency reported an Algerian security source as saying.
The source, who refused to be named, said the air forces of nine member states of the 5+5 Defence Initiative, including Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Libya, Tunisia, Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Malta will join the drill mimicking the use of Libyan military or civilian aircraft to carry out the terrorist attacks.
The source explained that Libya has been excluded due to the deteriorating security situation there.
The drill will be conducted in coordination with the US’ naval forces in the Mediterranean and Italy, the source said.
The source did not refer to the location where the exercises will take place nor its timing, while none of the countries expected to participate in the training has issued an official statement.
Algerian security sources said earlier that the air forces of several countries neighbouring Libya are on high alert fearing the use of Libyan civilian or military aircraft to launch terrorist attacks similar to the September 11, 2001, attacks. The sources pointed out that fears have grown now as terrorists are capable to seizing military aircraft and light training aircraft from the Libyan army.
Moroccan local media said the Moroccan army has deployed its anti-aircraft batteries on alert to deter any “potential terrorist threat using stolen aircraft after armed groups seized some civilian airports in Libya”.
According to local Moroccan newspapers the army’s preparations come a day after western intelligence agencies warned of the potential targeting of Moroccan cities by armed groups in the region.
The Moroccan authorities are reported to have imposed tight security measures on planes that cross its airspace to monitor any potential terrorist attack.