Serbian prosecutors probe into missiles found on Beirut flight

Serbian authorities inquire into cargo package found on Beirut flight bound for US, containing two missiles with explosive warheads at Belgrade Nicola Tesla Airport

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

An Air Serbia passenger plane flies over Belgrade, Serbia. Serbia's authorities are investigating reports that a cargo package bound for Portland containing two missiles with explosive warheads was found on a passenger flight from Lebanon to Serbia. [AP]

Serbian authorities have detected two US-made guided Hellfire missiles inside wooden crates at Belgrade Nicola Tesla Airport bound for Portland, Oregon, in the United States and Serbian prosecutors are probing into the case, a source at the prosecutor’s office said on Monday.

The missiles had arrived on an Air Serbia flight from the Lebanese capital Beirut and had been due to be transferred to another plane.

They were found by bomb-sniffing dogs at Belgrade Airport on Saturday, the source said.

"Experts are determining whether the missiles were equipped with live or training warheads ... They were packed in proper transportation crates and supplied with paperwork which is also being scrutinised," the source said.

In Beirut, a Lebanese security source claimed that they were training missiles used by the Lebanese Army and were being sent back to the United States.

The Lebanese and US authorities were aware of the shipment and the missiles posed no threat to the public, the source said.

The AGM 114 Hellfire, produced by Lockheed Martin, is an air-to-surface missile (ASM) which can be used against armoured vehicles and tanks, but also for precision strikes against other targets.

Air Serbia said it was helping with the investigation and that security and safety were its main priorities.

An inert AGM 114 Hellfire missile that had arrived in Cuba by mistake in 2014 was retrieved last month by US officials and Lockheed Martin representatives, the Cuban Foreign Ministry said.

TRTWorld and agencies