BEIRUT — A stray bullet that hit a Middle East Airlines plane Thursday pierced the fuselage of the aircraft before it had landed on Beirut's international airport tarmac, the Lebanese civil aviation directorate said in a statement Friday.
Via a statement published by the state-run National News Agency, the directorate added that the bullet that hit flight number ME311, coming from Amman to Beirut and landing on runway 16-34, resulted in minor damage to the fuselage's upper section, which was "repaired ... on the same day." An official investigation was launched by the relevant security authorities to uncover the incident's circumstances, the directorate stated.
"The bullet perforated the cabin of a plane [coming] from Jordan when it landed in Beirut," Hout said at the time.
Hout also told Reuters that "seven or eight planes are hit per year" while parked on the tarmac of the airport.
Forces of Change MP Paula Yacoubian told L'Orient Today Thursday that she was on board the plane. "I was coming back from Jordan and we were on the runway. We felt the impact of a bullet, and when I got off my seat, I could see a bullet on the ground."
Earlier Thursday afternoon, the Beirut MP called via Twitter for an "end to loose weapons and stray bullets."
In January of this year, Greece's Aegean Airlines suspended flights to Beirut after discovering "damage" caused by a bullet hole in the fuselage of one of its aircraft that landed in Lebanon the day before.
Also in January 2021, MEA aircraft were damaged after being hit by stray bullets during New Year's Eve celebrations.
Unregulated weapons possession and celebratory shootings regularly cause casualties and material damage in Lebanon, despite recent tougher sentences for this phenomenon by the military justice system.
A month ago, stray bullets landed in the garden of the Japanese ambassador to Lebanon, Takeshi Okubo.