Jerusalem: Barack Obama`s heavily armoured limousine, dubbed `The Beast`, broke down in Israel even before the US President landed as it was apparently refuelled using petrol instead of diesel.
The US Secret Service was forced to fly another vehicle in from Jordan yesterday where it was waiting for the US leader, who will travel to the neighbouring country on Friday.
`The Beast` failed to start, and was towed here but Obama, who landed at Ben-Gurion International airport yesterday afternoon, was not in the country at the time the vehicle broke down, Fox News reported.
A second presidential limo was brought to transport Obama from the airport.
"We experienced mechanical trouble with one of the cars," Edwin Donovan, a spokesman for the Secret Service was quoted by the Jerusalem Post as saying. "We don`t know the cause".
Donovan couldn`t confirm reports the limo was refuelled using petrol rather than diesel.
The presidential limousine is a specially built Cadillac that`s estimated to weigh 8 tonnes.
Although the Secret Service does not disclose details about the vehicle, it reportedly features several inches of armour and bulletproof glass, special suspension to absorb blasts and doors and windows that hermetically sealed in the event of a gas attack.
Most of the specifications of `The Beast` are classified as top secret, including whether or not it has one of those stickers on the fuel filler that says "diesel fuel only".