Tropas das Forças Especiais inglesas íniciaram ataques na Líbia22 de março de 2011
Crack SAS troops hunt Gaddafi weapons inside Libya
by Mike Hamilton,
Hundreds of British SAS soldiers have been operating with rebel groups inside Libya for three weeks, the Sunday Mirror can reveal today.
Two special forces units, nicknamed “Smash” teams for their destructive ability, are hunting Colonel Gaddafi’s long-range surface-to-air missile systems, which could launch attacks on jets or commercial airliners.
The crack troops have been racing against time to pinpoint the Libyan Army’s most potent strategic weapon, the Russian-made SAM 5 missile systems. Despite their age, the systems have a range of more than 200 miles and the capability to hit targets across the Mediterranean.
The two SAS units, joined by signallers, engineers and medics, are simultaneously establishing positions on the ground in case any Western jets are downed during an air attack.
The Who Dares Wins soldiers are also co-ordinating a search with rebel forces for British nationals in Libya. Military intelligence analysts believe the Libyans have only four main SAM 5 missile systems. When they are switched on, they can be identified by electronic counter-measures. But the long-range missiles are likely to have been hidden several weeks ago, possibly in aircraft bunkers.
This week, six RAF GR4 Tornados have been exercising with French fighter aircraft in the south of France. They are training to use the new bunker-busting Storm Shadow missile, which can be used to blast aircraft shelters and destroy the SAM 5 systems.
As well as trying to ensure British citizens are not held hostage, the squadrons are gathering information on Gaddafi’s key equipment. Although Libya’s T-72 tanks and anti-aircraft weapons will be of no threat to French and British fighter aircraft, concerns have been raised about Gaddafi’s stockpile of poisonous gas.
A senior military source said: “Nobody knows what Gaddafi is going to do. It is vital we knock out his key installations because he is so unpredictable.”