Bullet hits Middle East Airlines plane while landing in Beirut

Politician shares image from on board flight showing hole in fuselage

Lebanese Middle East Airlines (MEA) planes are pictured at the tarmac of Beirut international airport, Lebanon February 16, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
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A Middle East Airlines passenger plane bound from Jordan to Beirut was hit by a stray bullet while landing in the Lebanese capital on Thursday, with no injuries reported, airline chairman Mohamad El Hout told Reuters.

Mr El Hout said that seven to eight stationary planes are hit by stray bullets shot from areas next to Beirut airport each year, but Thursday's incident was the first time it had happened while a plane was moving.

Lebanese member of parliament Paula Yacoubian was on the flight and shared images on her Twitter page appearing to show a hole in the fuselage of the plane.

She said she was sitting in seat 2F when the incident occurred “right above my head”.

Stray bullets from celebratory gunfire are a source of danger throughout Lebanon, but authorities have struggled to stamp out the often deadly tradition.

“These practices of shooting in the air in Lebanon must be stopped … it is a source of danger to air traffic and the airport,” Mr El Hout said.

Celebratory gunshots to mark the new year killed a Syrian woman in eastern Lebanon last year and damaged a parked aircraft at Beirut airport.

Officially, celebratory gunfire is illegal in Lebanon, where firearm ownership is widespread three decades after the end of the 1975-1990 civil war.

Updated: November 10, 2022, 3:51 PM
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