The Algerian National People’s Army (NPA) has uncovered a weapons cache containing a man-portable air-defense system (MANPAD) in the northern province of Tizi Ouzou, the Ministry of National Defense announced on January 7.
The MANPAD, a Soviet-made 9K32 Strela-2M, was uncovered by NPA troops during a search operation in the areas of Djbel Ezane, Tbaoulat and Echaara. Five thermal batteries for the MANPAD as well as other weapons and equipment were found in the same cache.
The 9K32M Strela-2M is the second generation of the original 9K32 Strela-2, with an improved infrared homing system, a more effective warhead and engine as well as an updated detection system. The updated missile’s top firing range is 4,200 m.
In the statement, the Ministry of National Defense said the weapons cache was uncovered thanks to information from terrorist Rezkane Ahcene, known as “Abu Dahdah,” who was captured on December 16.
“This special operation, which is added to the set of results concretized on the ground, reiterates the great vigilance and the firm determination of the Forces of the National People’s Army to cleanse our country from the scourge of terrorism, and to establish the security and tranquility throughout the national territory,” the statement reads.
The MANPAD uncovered in Tizi Ouzou was likely smuggled into Algeria from neighboring Libya. Hundreds of similar missiles were looted from the Libyan military stockpiles following the 2011 military intervention by NATO.
Several terrorist groups, including ISIS and al-Qaeda, are active on a low level in the rural parts of Algeria. These terrorist cells benefit from the instability in Libya and Mali.
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