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article imageFAA bans U.S. air carriers from Israel's Ben Gurion Airport

By Stephen Pope     Jul 22, 2014 in World
Tel Aviv - Shortly after noon Tuesday the Federal Aviation Administration issued a ban of at least 24 hours on all U.S.-owned air carriers from flying to and from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv in response to increased rocket attacks by the terrorist group Hamas.
Just before midnight Monday, a Delta Airlines flight with 273 passengers and 17 crew members on board traveling from New York to Tel Aviv diverted to Paris after a rocket fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza City struck a house less than a mile from the Ben Gurion International Airport, according to a Washington Post report.
At 12:15 p.m. EST Tuesday, the FAA issued the ban in a Notice to Airmen that reads; "SECURITY ISRAEL POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS SITUATION—ISRAEL AIRSPACE DUE TO THE POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS SITUATION CREATED BY THE ARMED CONFLICT IN ISRAEL AND GAZA, ALL FLIGHT OPERATIONS TO/FROM BEN GURION INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (LLBG) BY U.S. OPERATORS ARE PROHIBITED UNTIL FURTHER ADVISED."
According to the Israel Airport Authority a number of international air carriers including Swiss Air, K.L.M., Brussels Airlines and Lufthansa have also suspended service to and from the capital city.
Israel's own airline, El Al continues it regularly scheduled service.
The U.S. Government is apparently taking no chances with the safety of U.S. airlines after the July 17 missile attack on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over the Ukraine that killed all 298 persons on board.
On Monday the State Department issued a strongly worded travel warning against non essential travel to Israel saying, "The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens consider the deferral of non-essential travel to Israel and the West Bank and reaffirms the longstanding strong warning to U.S. citizens against any travel to the Gaza Strip."
Israel maintains it is still safe to fly to and from Tel Aviv. In a statement Tuesday Israel Transport Minister Israel Katz called the ban a "Prize to terror," adding "There is no reason for these companies to stop flights."
Tuesday's temporary ban on flights to and from Israel is among several areas that U.S. owned airlines are prohibited from flying to. Other areas are Eastern Ukraine, Crimea, North Korea, Northern Ethiopia and Libya.
Since Hamas has renewed its almost daily missile attacks against Israel, 604 Palestinians have been killed and an estimated 3,700 wounded as well as 27 Israeli Defense Force members killed, according to an Israeli news source.
The FAA said in its press release that updated instructions would be issued to U.S. airlines, but no sooner than 24 hours.
More about Israeli conflict, hamas rockets, Ben Gurion Airport, FAA
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