The Federal Aviation Administration ordered U.S. airlines to halt flights to Israel’s main airport in Tel Aviv after the threat of rocket fire prompted Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and other carriers to suspend and divert service.
The decision comes as fighting between Palestinian militants and Israeli armed forces intensified Tuesday, along with the threat of more long-range rockets. Shortly after noon, the FAA issued its order to halt flights to Israel for 24 hours.
The State Department this week also reiterated its recommendation, first issued in February, to U.S. citizens to defer non-essential travel to Israel and the West Bank, and repeated a “longstanding strong warning” against any travel to the Gaza Strip.
Delta said its Flight 468, a Boeing 747 from JFK with 273 passengers and 17 crew, diverted to Paris-Charles de Gaulle on Tuesday after reports of a rocket or associated debris near the airport in Tel Aviv.
Israeli police confirmed that a rocket from Gaza landed in an area near the airport and caused damage to a house and slightly wounded one Israeli, according to The Associated Press.
Delta said it is suspending flights “to ensure the safety and security of our customers and employees.”
The FAA announced recently that carriers also have voluntarily agreed not to operate in the airspace near the Russian-Ukraine border following the recent downing of a Malaysia Airlines jet shot down over Ukraine. The airline said all 298 people on board were killed.
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Photo Credit: Aerial view of Tel Aviv airport. Andrew Nash / Flickr
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