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International airlines cancel travel to Israel

The Federal Aviation Administration imposed a 24-hour ban on flights to Israel after the U.S. airlines acted.

Air Canada cancelled its scheduled flight from Toronto to Tel Aviv Tuesday night. However, a flight from Tel Aviv did arrive at Pearson International Airport around 6 a.m. on Wednesday.

Air Canada joined many U-S and European airlines that were prohibited from flying to Israel's main airport following a rocket explosion nearby.

However, U-S Secretary of State John Kerry flew arrived in Tel Aviv Wednesday aboard a military jet despite the ban. Kerry plans to meet with Israel's prime minister, the Palestinian Authority's president and the U-N chief in a push for peace.

Delta Air Lines turned around one of its jets midflight and indefinitely cancelled all future flights between the U.S. and Israel after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed near Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport. Other U.S. airlines quickly took similar action, and counterparts in Europe and Canada followed within hours, despite protests from the Israeli government. Israeli airline El Al maintained its regular flight schedule.

The airlines were out ahead of aviation regulators in stopping service. The Federal Aviation Administration imposed a 24-hour ban on flights to Israel after the U.S. airlines acted. Germany's Lufthansa, Italian airline Alitalia and Air France all acted before the European Aviation Safety Agency issued an advisory.

How long the cessation of flights will last is unclear. U.S. airlines now must wait for the FAA, which said it will provide updated guidance by midday Wednesday.

Scandinavian Airlines cancelled two flights from Copenhagen to Tel Aviv on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, and said it will rethink the situation Wednesday for two more flights this week. Budget airline Norwegian said it had scrapped a flight from Stockholm to Tel Aviv on Wednesday and was mmonitoring the events closely, the airline's spokeswoman Charlotte Holmbergh Jacobsson said.

Also Wednesday, Royal Jordanian suspended its flights to Ben Gurion until further notice, according to the airline's spokesman, Basil al-Kilani.

Korean Air Lines Co. said on Friday that it was suspending its flights between Incheon International Airport near Seoul and Tel Aviv until at least Thursday, citing tensions between Israel and Palestine.

The Israel government felt the airlines overreacted Tuesday. The Transportation Ministry called on the companies to reverse their decision, insisting Ben-Gurion Airport is safe and completely guarded and saying there is no reason to ``hand terror a prize,'' by halting the flights.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg strongly urged the FAA to ``reverse course'' and permit U.S. airlines to fly to Israel. Bloomberg released a statement saying he is flying on El Al to Tel Aviv on Tuesday night to ``show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel.''
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`The U.S. flight restrictions are a mistake that hands Hamas an underserved victory and should be lifted immediately,'' Bloomberg said.

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