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Hellfire Missiles Bound For Portland Found On Serbian Passenger Plane

REUTERS/U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Jeffrey Hall/Handout

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter

Serbian security personnel discovered two Hellfire missiles aboard a civilian passenger plane bound for Portland, Oregon.

The package containing the missiles was found by bomb-sniffing dogs in the cargo hold of the plane. The Air Serbia flight originated in Beirut, Lebanon and landed in the Serbian capital of Belgrade before the package was discovered, according to a Sunday Associated Press report. The two missiles, armed with explosive warheads, were hidden inside two coffins. Serbian media has reported that the package’s final destination was believed to have been Portland.

The AGM-114 Hellfire is a guided missile that can be launched from ground, sea and air weapons platforms. The munition was originally developed as an anti-armor weapon, but it has since been utilized in many combat situations, including drone strikes. Weighing 100 pounds, it is a highly effective and deadly weapon.

When asked about the missiles, FBI spokesperson Jennifer Adams told the Associated Press Sunday that “we don’t have any information on that yet.” Neither Serbian nor U.S. officials have provided any information as to how the missiles made their way on to a civilian passenger jet or who was supposed to receive them in Portland, though an investigation by Serbian officials is ongoing.

The mysterious shipment follows the return of another lost Hellfire by Cuba in February. Cuban authorities returned the missile to the U.S. in February after holding it for two years when it was discovered on a plane. Unlike the Cuban example, the two Hellfires in Serbia had their explosive warheads attached.

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