US extends flight ban to Israel for another 24 hours

Nassos Stylianou
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Various cancellations at Ben Gurion International airport (Source: Getty)

The United States has renewed its ban on airlines flying to Tel Aviv for a further 24 hours, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said.

A host of major US and European carriers suspended flights to Ben Gurion airport in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv on Tuesday, after a rocket strike on Tuesday is reported to have landed a mile from the airport.

The FAA cited the "the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza" in prohibiting flights by US airlines.

The regulator said in a statement today that it was:

"Working closely with the Government of Israel to review the significant new information they have provided and determine whether potential risks to U.S. civil aviation are mitigated so the agency can resolve concerns as quickly as possible".

The decision comes as the global aviation community is still reeling from the downing of the MH17 Malaysian Airlines jet in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 on board.

On Wednesday morning, Europe's aviation regulator warned airlines not to fly to Tel Aviv. A number of carriers such as Lufthansa and Air France followed the US in suspending flights to the airport, while British Airways earlier today remained one of the few major carriers in the EU still flying to the destination.

Israeli officials have been highly critical of the decision by the US authorities, describing it as a "reward" to terrorism.

"There is no need for US carriers to suspend flights and reward terrorism," a statement from Israel's Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz had said.

Fighting in Gaza raged again today, as the latest round of violence in the region has seen more than 600 Palestinians and 27 Israeli soldiers killed.

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