The "missing" aeroplanes at Tripoli airport supposedly seized by terrorists are not going to be used in a "9/11 terror attack", an aviation security expert has said.
"Do you know how many times we've heard that in the last year? 'There's going to be another 9/11'," Philip Baum, editor of Aviation Security International, told IBTimes UK.
His comments follow a report from the Washington Free Beacon – a conservative US publication that is "committed to serving the public interest by reporting news and information that currently is not being fully covered by other news organisations".
The Beacon reported that Islamist militants in Libya took control of a dozen aeroplanes last month and that "the jets could be used in terrorist attacks across North Africa".
"Intelligence reports of the stolen jetliners were distributed within the US government over the past two weeks and included a warning that one or more of the aircraft could be used in an attack later this month on the date marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks," it said.
Michael Rubin, a counterterrorism specialist with the American Enterprise Institute, warned that an aircraft in the hands of a terrorist would be a worry: "Each plane could, if deployed by terrorists to maximum devastating effect, represent 1,000 civilian casualties."
However, Baum said the actual risk from the missing planes from Tripoli is small: "First of all we know large numbers of aircrafts have been destroyed on the ground in Tripoli. The airport itself is almost inoperable.
"So in terms of who has been stealing aeroplanes, where they've been flying them to and how they've been flying them without anybody noticing ... it's not like stealing cars."
He noted that the same comments were being made after the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 went missing earlier this year – that it was going to be used to attack a major city. "That's why we scramble aircraft if there is ever an aircraft we can't communicate with," he said.