Today, a Middle Eastern Airlines (MEA) plane has been been hit by a stray bullet. It has been reported by the Middle Eastern Airline’s Chairman Mohamed El-Hout that none of the travellers on board have been injured.
The Middle Eastern Airline aircraft was en route from Jordan to Beirut, Lebanon when the unfortunate incident took place. Mr. El-Hout has stated that in Lebanon, gunfire shootings are a dangerous yet reoccurring issue. In an interview with Reuters, he emphasised that around eight stationery planes are hit by stray bullets that have been launched from areas close to Beirut every year.
However, today’s incident has caused a greater cause for concern for the airline, as the aircraft was moving at the time of the incident, placing those in it in increased danger. The Chairman has since stressed the impact that this issue has had on air travel in Lebanon.
“These practices of shooting in the air in Lebanon must be stopped it is a source of danger to air traffic and the airport,”
Lebanese politician Paula Yacoubian was also on board the aircraft at the time. On Twitter, Ms. Yacoubian posted pictures of the bullet holes on the aircraft, with one being directly over her head. The MP stressed,
“Instead of good morning, we must say to each other, Alhamdulillah for your safety, uncontrolled weapons and stray bullets must be put to an end”.
Is this a norm in Lebanon?
Though celebratory gunfire has been considered illegal in Lebanon since 2016, it still commonly occurs. Many of the population have gun ownership and use this to celebrate momentum dates, like political speeches and official school exam results. Last December, Lebanese authorities were forced to place precautionary measures for New Year’s Eve celebrations by banning celebratory gunfire as a result of rising accidental deaths within the country. Those caught doing so were arrested immediately.
It seems that celebratory gunfire is a huge hazard for airlines that choose to travel through Lebanon.
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