Jul 25, 2014
By Jane Brown
Reports of Tel Aviv airport being shelled by three Hamas rockets apparently prompted an Air Canada flight from Toronto to circle for ten minutes before landing safely.
On twitter this morning, Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades confirmed it had fired three M75 missiles at the Ben Gurion International Airport around 11:45 a.m. local time. An Al Jazeera reporter said the rockets were fired towards the airport from the Gaza Strip.
A number of online flight trackers showed flight AC84 circling over Israel several times before landing safely at 12:07 p.m. local time.
The flight was the first departure from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to Tel Aviv since a two day halt, prompted by concerns over Hamas rocket attacks. The flight has since left Tel Aviv for Toronto and is expected to depart for Tel Aviv again tonight.
Air Canada’s decision to resume flights to Israel followed a move Wednesday night by the Federal Aviation Administration to lift its ban on U.S. flights in and out of Israel.
Meantime, an Israeli defence official says the Security Cabinet is meeting to discuss international cease-fire efforts, but also the option of expanding its eight-day-old ground operation in Gaza. He spoke on condition of anonymity since today’s deliberations are taking place behind closed doors. The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had no immediate comment. Israeli police say thousands of security forces have been deployed around Jerusalem’s Old City in preparation for possible Palestinian protests after today’s prayers at a key Muslim holy site.
The Hamas-Israel conflict began 17 days ago, after Hamas began firing rockets at Israel. The violence has now spread to the West Bank, where thousands of Palestinians protesting the fighting clashed with Israeli soldiers.