Stray bullet hits plane landing in Beirut, no casualties

BEIRUT (AP) — A stray bullet hit a Middle East Airlines jet while landing in Beirut on Thursday, causing some material damage. No one among the passengers or crew was hurt, the head of the Lebanese airline company said.

The jet was landing on its way back from Jordan when the bullet hit the plane, said Mohamad El-Hout. He told reporters that Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport often faces such incidents, in addition to birds that fly in the area, endangering aviation.

The bullet hit the roof of the jet and lodged inside the plane, airport officials said.

Legislator Paula Yacoubian was apparently on the plane and tweeted that “illegal weapons” should be banned. She posted a photo from inside the plane showing a bullet hole over the baggage hold, adding that she will give further details during a TV talk show later in the evening.

Shooting in the air is common in Lebanon, where people often open fire to celebrate passing schools or university exams, as well as during weddings and funerals. Such shootings also tend to follow when the country’s political leaders give speeches.

It is also common for Lebanese to have pistols and automatic rifles at home, many of them left over from the country’s 1975-90 civil war.

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