Investigation after US missiles found on passenger jet
Lebanese and Serbian officials are investigation how two US-made Hellfire missiles came to be transported as air cargo aboard a civilian passenger airliner.
Serbian authorities say the missiles were found on a passenger flight from Lebanon and that they are still determining whether they contained a warhead or not.
The Lebanese army has admitted to shipping the US-bound missiles on the aircraft, but said they were for training purposes and did not contain explosives.
Sniffer-dogs found the missiles on an Air Serbia flight at Belgrade airport on Saturday. Air Serbia has not commented publicly on the incident beyond a statement saying they were cooperating with officials.
"Experts are determining whether the missiles were equipped with live or training warheads,” a source at the Serbian prosecutor’s office told Reuters. “They were packed in proper transportation crates and supplied with paperwork."
The missiles were due to be transferred to another flight to Portland, Oregon, according to reports.
"They [the missiles] belonged to the Lebanese army, which decided to send them back to the American company that manufactured them upon agreement with it, in accordance with legal and administrative procedures and after training with them had been completed,” the Lebanese army said in a statement.
The AGM-114 Hellfire is a laser-guided missile that can be deployed from an attack helicopter or an unmanned drone.