Ethiopia’s national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, is now under fire after pictures of its A-319 airliner airlifted cargo appeared to show weapons in flight. The cargo was categorized as light weapons, according to the Aviation Herald. While the incident occurred in August, it wasn’t until recently that the scandal was widely known. The weapons of concern were believed to have been Iranian-made shoulder-fired missiles in the dual-use equipment which also includes medicines. While the photographs were shared by blogger for AviationWeek.com, Defense News has now confirmed the story is true. Ethiopian Airlines released a statement on Wednesday, claiming that the shipment was destined for a client in China.
The wide-body A-319 airliner, which seats around 180 passengers, was transported to China by the national carrier’s Boeing MD-11 freighter. The Aircraft Flight Forecast Radar (AFFRS) revealed that the flight has been preparing to land in Hong Kong. It subsequently ditched in the Pacific Ocean and was subsequently recovered by naval salvage teams. It has been confirmed that the cargo was from Iran. The news comes amid a deepening and escalating dispute between the U.S. and Iran following the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear agreement. Reports suggest that Iran’s dictator, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has passed out from the growing tension in the region and is considering an American-style coup.
According to CNN, General Hossein Alaei of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards admitted to being to blame for the secret shipment saying, “Iran does not have any limited wars against its enemies. What happened was in violation of our national security and international laws.” The carrier still faces a furore that started when its pilot allegedly pointed a finger at an American passenger plane that was shadowing them during a flight to China.
The allegations have gained international attention due to the fact that the plane in question served as Ethiopia’s flagship commercial airline as part of the government’s efforts to travel to the top of the world’s aviation charts. The news is just the latest embarrassment for the Ethiopians, who are also reportedly not ready to release the body of black-clad activist Yohannes Haile, who was found dead in a hotel in the capital, Addis Ababa. His death was originally attributed to light drowning. According to Reuters, Haile had run a bookshop for women in Addis Ababa and had received death threats.
Read the full story at Reuters.
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