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Cuba returns missile to the United States

By Ann Marie Awad   |   Feb. 13, 2016 at 9:03 PM
| License Photo

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- A ground-to-air Hellfire missile accidentally shipped to Cuba more than a year ago has been returned to the United States, the State Department said.

"We can say, without speaking to specifics, that the inert training missile has been returned with the cooperation of the Cuban government," Mark Toner, a State Department spokesperson, told CNN Saturday. "The department is restricted under federal law and regulations from commenting on specific defense trade licensing cases and compliance matters, so we cannot provide further details."

Toner added that the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries facilitated the return of the missile.

The missile was inactive, known as a "dummy missile" to be used in training exercises. It was not fitted with a warhead, and was also missing key components that would make it a threat. However, U.S. officials were concerned about the technology falling into the hands of enemies.

The Wall Street Journal reported the return of the missile was a sticking point amid the diplomatic thaw between Cuba and the United States.

The missile was rerouted in Germany in 2014 and inadvertently sent to Cuba, where it had remained since.

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