Diplomacy: Close Call for a Private Jet

It was just after dusk when the French-built Falcon 20 flew over the presidential palace and the adjacent U.S. ambassador's residence in the Beirut suburb of Baabda. But then the plane took a second turn over the compound, and Lebanese soldiers, suspecting a terrorist attack, opened fire with antiaircraft guns. Fortunately they missed their target, a private plane owned by the Saudi Arabian Golden Contracting Co. The pilot had veered off course while approaching Beirut Airport. Aerial traffic controllers were able to guide the jet to a safe landing.

The incident illustrated the troubles faced by Americans and Lebanese worried about...

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