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Air France, US, European airlines scrap flights to Tel Aviv

media A departure time flight board t Ben Gurion International airport in Tel Aviv on Tuesday Reuters/Siegfried Modola

Air France was among European and American airlines that cancelled flights to Israel Tuesday and Wednesday after a rocket fired from Gaza landed near the runways of Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport.

With safety concerns heightened following the apparent shooting-down of Malaysia airlines flight MH17 last Thursday, several US airlines cancelled flights to Ben Gurion on Tuesday.

The US’s Federal Aviation Authority banned Israel-bound flights on Tuesday evening for at least 24 hours and Europe’s Aviation Safety Agency advised airlines to avoid Tel Aviv “until further notice”.

Dossier: Gaza 2009

Air France was among European airlines, including Lufthansa, Brussels Airlines and EasyJet, to heed the advice.

More than 80 flights had been cancelled by mid-morning Wednesday.

Delta Air Lines, which is Air France-KLM’s partner in a joint venture on the trans-Atlantic market, rerouted a flight that had almost arrived at Tel Aviv to Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport on Tuesday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealed to US Secretary of State John Kerry to lift the ban and President Shimon Peres spoke out against on Wednesday morning.

The death toll from the latest flare-up of the Gaza conflict was 639 Palestinians and 31 Israelis on Wednesday morning.

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