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FAA directs American carriers to cancel flights to Israel

Delta Airlines announced Tuesday that it has diverted a Boeing 747 to Paris that was en route from New York to Tel Aviv, citing concern for the safety of the passengers and crew "after reports of a rocket or associated debris near the airport in Tel Aviv." The Federal Aviation Administration later ordered all U.S. carriers to cancel flights to Israel for a 24-hour period.
By JC Finley   |   July 22, 2014 at 12:39 PM   |   Comments

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ATLANTA, July 22 (UPI) -- The Federal Aviation Administration announced Tuesday that all American carriers must cancel their flights to and from Israel for a period of 24 hours.

According to the FAA statement:

"At 12:15 EST on July 22, 2014, the FAA issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) informing U.S. airlines that they are prohibited from flying to or from Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport for a period of up to 24 hours. The notice was issued in response to a rocket strike which landed approximately one mile from Ben Gurion International Airport on the morning of July 22, 2014. The NOTAM applies only to U.S. operators, and has no authority over foreign airlines operating to or from the airport."

Prior to the FAA order, three American carriers announced earlier Tuesday they had decided to suspend flights to and from Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, citing security concerns.

Delta noted that the suspension would be in effect "until further notice," and cited security concerns and an incident involving Delta Flight 468 that was diverted to Paris while en route from JFK to Paris-Charles de Gaulle on Tuesday "after reports of a rocket or associated debris near the airport in Tel Aviv."

American Airlines and U.S. Airways followed suit, announcing on Wednesday their flights to and from Israel had been canceled.

Also on Tuesday, the U.S. Department of State issued an updated travel warning for Israel, advising against non-essential travel to Israel and the West Bank.

"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 and Hamas have been engaged in a deadly exchange of airstrikes for more than two weeks.

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