Agency tells US airlines all flights to Tel Aviv airport prohibited for 24 hours

AP, Tuesday 22 Jul 2014

The Federal Aviation Agency tells US airlines all flights to Tel Aviv airport in Israel prohibited for 24 hours.

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed near Israel's main airport Tuesday, wounding one Israeli and prompting at least two American airlines to cancel flights to Israel in a reflection of high anxiety over air travel after last week's attack on a Malaysian jet over Ukraine.

It was the latest blow to Israel on a day when it announced that an Israeli soldier went missing following a deadly battle in the Palestinian territory, where the Israelis are fighting Hamas militants in the third conflict in just over five years.

Palestinian militants have fired more than 2,000 rockets toward Israel, and several heading toward the area of Ben-Gurion Airport have been intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defense system, but police spokeswoman Luba Samri said Tuesday's landing was the closest to the airport since Israel started its deadly assault on Gaza on 8 July.

The rocket damaged a house and lightly injured one Israeli in Yehud, a Tel Aviv suburb near the airport, Samri said. As a result, Delta Air Lines and U.S. Airlines decided to cancel their scheduled flights to Israel.

Israel's Transportation Ministry called on the companies to reverse their decision and said it was trying to explain that the airport was "safe for landings and departures."

Over 600 Palestinians were killed and thousands displaced by Israel's attack against Gaza. 29 Israelis, including 27 soldiers, were killed.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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