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World

Major airlines suspend flights to Israel as conflict with Palestine intensifies

  • Major European and American airlines have temporarily suspended flights to Israel due to escalating tensions with Palestine.
  • The decision is more of a precautionary measure due to increasing retaliatory rocket attacks from Hamas.
Updated 14 May 2021

Major European and American airlines have temporarily suspended flights to Israel as tensions escalate with Palestine, Israeli media reported on Thursday. This includes Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines.

German company Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines said that they would not operate flights from Frankfurt, Vienna, and Munich on Thursday and Friday.

The decision is more of a precautionary measure due to increasing retaliatory rocket attacks from Hamas in response to the Israeli air raids in Gaza targeting civilian buildings.

Earlier, Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport had announced on Thursday to divert all incoming flights to the Ramon airport in the country’s south because of the same reason.

On Wednesday, American Airlines had canceled its flights to Tel Aviv for May 12-13 due to the escalation of violence in the region. Other carriers, including United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, have also temporarily suspended their flights to the conflicted Jewish state.

Russia, on the other hand, issued recommendations to national airlines regarding the ongoing tensions on the Gaza border.

“In connection with the aggravation of the situation in the Middle East region, to ensure the safety of flights of civil aircraft of the Russian Federation when performing international air transport, the Rosaviatsiya recommends that Russian aircraft operators: ensure constant monitoring of operational air navigation information issued by the states of the region and containing data on activities potentially dangerous for civil aircraft flights,” Federal Agency for Air Transport (Rosaviatsiya) said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Russian operator Aeroflot has also canceled several flights to Israel.

“Due to restrictions in the operation of Ben Gurion Airport (Israel), Aeroflot cancels flights SU500/SU501 Sheremetyevo – Tel Aviv – Sheremetyevo on May 14, 2021,” the company said in a message.

Large-scale clashes broke out from May 7-10 between Palestinians and Israeli police, leading to the sharpest escalation of the conflict in recent years. Riots began in two areas of East Jerusalem at once – near the Temple Mount and in the Sheikh Jarrah quarter, where several Arab families are being evicted by the Israeli court decision.

Israel has pounded Gaza with artillery and air strikes since the escalation of the conflict in the past few days, taking the civilian casualties to over 110, including dozens of children.