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FAA lifts ban on american flights to Israel

The FAA instituted a 24-hour prohibition Tuesday on flights to Ben Gurion International Airport

Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel

The Federal Aviation Administration has lifted its ban on U.S. flights to Israel, which it had imposed out of concern over the risk of planes being hit by Hamas rockets.

The agency made its decision late Wednesday after working with other U.S. government entities to assess the security situation in Israel. Its decision was effective at 11:45 p.m. EDT.

``Before making this decision, the FAA worked with its U.S. government counterparts to assess the security situation in Israel and carefully reviewed both significant new information and measures the government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation,'' the FAA said. ``The agency will continue to closely monitor the very fluid situation around Ben Gurion Airport and will take additional actions as necessary.''

The FAA instituted a 24-hour prohibition Tuesday on flights to Ben Gurion International Airport in response to a rocket strike that landed about a mile from the airport.

The directive, which was extended Wednesday, applied only to U.S. carriers. The FAA has no authority over foreign airlines operating in Israel, although the European Aviation Safety Agency late Tuesday said it ``strongly recommends'' that airlines refrain from operating flights to and from Tel Aviv. Some European carriers, including Air France and Lufthansa, extended flight cancellations through Thursday.

Delta Air Lines, which diverted a jumbo jet away from Tel Aviv before Tuesday's ban by the FAA, will not necessarily resume flights to Israel even if U.S. authorities declare the area safe, the airline's CEO said before the FAA lifted the ban.

The CEO of Middle East carrier Emirates said after the shoot-down in Ukraine of a Malaysia Airlines jet last week that global airlines need better risk assessment from international aviation authorities. Delta, however, seemed more inclined to go it alone.

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