Military Deserters Attempted To Hijack Flight Out Of Cuba
ANN REALTIME UPDATE
05.03.07 1620 EDT: At least one of three military draftees
who fled from a Cuban military base this week is dead, following a
shootout with police Thursday morning on the ramp at José
Martí International Airport. The group allegedly attempted
to commandeer a flight out of Havana.
Media sources within Cuba state the men were able to access the
runway in a bus, and were driving towards a jet that had just come
in from Santiago when the shootout began.
One police officer was also reported killed in the incident,
which sources at the airport said happened "very fast." State-run
news outlets report the situation at the airport returned to
"normal" Thursday afternoon, although journalists on the ground say
the domestic terminal remains closed, and inbound flights are being
sent to a different area.
Cuban authorities have not confirmed the incident took
1415 EDT: Reports are sketchy regarding the
circumstances surrounding a Thursday morning shootout at or near
Havana's José Martí International Airport, allegedly
involving soldiers who deserted a nearby military base earlier this
"Now everything everything is under control, but there was a
fierce gunfight," an unnamed source told Agence-France Presse,
adding the men were riding a bus toward a Boeing 737 at the
Terminal 1 when the shooting took place.
Human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez told The Miami Herald in
a phone interview the soldiers may have attempted to hijack a plane
out of Cuba. There is no information on casualties.
"The airport is under heavy security," Sanchez said.
Official state media sources have carried no reports of the
shootout, but independent news outlets report police and other
authorities have been searching for three military draftees who
deserted the base in Managua earlier this week. Security at the
nearby airport was strengthened following the desertion.
ANN will continue to follow this developing story.