Netanyahu urges Kerry to resume Israel-bound flights

Photo: Netanyahu urges Kerry to resume Israel-bound flights / Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene to resume U.S. flights to Israel, Anadolu Agency reported.

Sources in Netanyahu's office said that the Israeli Premier urged the top U.S. diplomat to intervene to resume U.S. flights to the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) earlier told U.S. airlines to halt flights to Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport for up to 24 hours over the ongoing violence in the Palestinian territories.

Several European airlines have also suspended flights to Ben-Gurion Airport, including Lufthansa Airlines and Air France, after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck the area.

Israel's Transportation Ministry said that it was trying to reverse the decision to suspend flights to Israel.

"Ben-Gurion Airport is safe and completely guarded and there is no reason whatsoever that American companies would stop their flights and hand terror a prize," it said in a statement.

Violence has engulfed the Palestinian territories since July 7 when Israel launched a military offensive in the Gaza Strip with the ostensible aim of halting rocket fire.

At least 635 Palestinians have been killed and more than 4000 injured in the ongoing Israeli attacks, now in the third week.

Gaza-based resistance factions, meanwhile, have continued to fire rockets at Israeli cities in response to the relentless Israeli attacks.

Thirty Israelis, mostly soldiers, have been killed since hostilities began.

Israel's military operation, dubbed "Operation Protective Edge," is the self-proclaimed Jewish state's third major offensive against the densely-populated Gaza Strip - which is home to some 1.8 million Palestinians - within the last six years.

In 2008/9, over 1500 Palestinians were killed in Israel's three-week-long "Operation Cast Lead."

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