Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

FBI in Cyprus to inspect suspected arms-smuggling plane

plane

A squad of FBI experts is in Cyprus to inspect an aircraft at Paphos airport with potential links to arms smuggling to Libya, police confirmed on Tuesday.

The small plane has reportedly been in a private hangar at Paphos airport for nearly two years but was recently placed under 24-hour supervision after authorities were alerted of its suspected connection to criminal activities a few weeks ago.

The aircraft’s possible links with illegal activities were revealed after a report by the Panel of Experts on Libya submitted to the UN Security Council earlier this year.

The report said the plane in question was registered by the Civil Aviation Directorate of Serbia in August 2018, while it was expelled by Jordanian authorities in July 2019.

Police spokesman Christos Andreou confirmed that experts from the FBI have landed in Cyprus to join police officers and state pyrotechnicians in unsealing the aircraft.

They are seeking to determine whether there is or was any military equipment or capabilities to transport weapons, and whether it is linked with violating the Libyan arms embargo.

He said that Cypriot authorities received two separate requests from the FBI and the UN to launch investigations on the aircraft a few weeks ago.

According to the report, the plane in question is believed to be linked with Project Opus, a private military intervention designed to provide armed groups affiliated with Khalifa Haftar with armed assault rotary-wing aviation, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, maritime interdiction, cyber, unmanned armed vehicles, and intelligence fusion and targeting capabilities.

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