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Mystery plane released after checks

plane

It appears unlikely that the mysterious plane parked in Paphos is the stuff of a James Bond story arc, after it was reported that FBI agents had come to Cyprus to assess whether it was used in Libyan arms smuggling.

Local media reported on Tuesday that the Legal Department has instructed the police that the converted Thrush 510G can be released after checks were carried out.

The small aircraft became entangled in accusations of possible links with illegal activities after a report by the Panel of Experts on Libya was submitted to the UN Security Council earlier this year.

Local experts and FBI agents then sought to determine whether there was any military equipment or capabilities to transport weapons, and whether it is linked with violating the Libyan arms embargo.

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

Daily Phileleftheros reported that local officers obtained several items from the plane during the checks, including flight plans, the navigation system and gunpowder residue.

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.

The report also 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.

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