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Flights to Tel Aviv canceled

July 22, 2014

Several international airlines including Germany's Lufthansa have announced that they are suspending flights to Tel Aviv for safety reasons. This came after at least one militant rocket reportedly hit near the airport.

Lufthansa-Flugzeuge auf dem Frankfurter Flughafen
Image: Reuters

The Lufthansa Group announced Tuesday that it was canceling all flights to Tel Aviv for the next 36 hours. This includes not just Lufthansa flights, but also those of the group's other airlines: Germanwings, Austrian Airlines and Swiss.

According to a statement, the decision had been made because of the "unsafe situation" in the vicinity of Ben Gurion International Airport on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. This came just hours after at least one rocket fired from the Gaza Strip by militants hit in the vicinity of the airport. The Islamist group Hamas and its allies have been firing rockets at Israel over the past two weeks, as the country continues an offensive in the Palestinian territory.

Lufthansa normally operates between seven and 10 flights to Tel Aviv daily, from Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich, Zurich and Vienna.

Lufthansa was just one of several international airlines to suspend flights to Tel Aviv on Tuesday, after Air France announced it was doing so "until further notice."

Dutch flag carrier KLM followed suit.

"We have canceled our flight to Tel Aviv as a precaution because we can't secure passengers' safety," KLM spokeswoman Joyce Veekman said. "We'll review the situation every day."

Earlier, the US carriers Delta, US Airways and United Airlines had announced similar moves.

This comes just days after a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet crashed into eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. This raised questions about whether airlines should be operating over zones of armed conflict.

pfd/mkg (Reuters, AFP, dpa)