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AZAL continues air flights to Israel

July 23, 2014 | 4:58 pm

Azerbaijani Airlines has announced it will continue flights to Israel during the current conflict in Gaza.

The announcement comes as the Federal Aviation Adminstration banned United States airlines from flying in or out of Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, citing the danger of a nearby Hamas rocket attack.

Germany, France, Austria, Turkey, Switzerland and Russia joined in suspending their flights to Israel for an indefinite time.

But the regular AZAL air flight from Baku, Azerbaijan's capital, to Israel occurred as scheduled at 09:44 am today, according to AZAL spokesman Maharram Safarli.

Azerbaijan is a predominately Shiite Muslim country that borders Iran, Russia and the Caspian Sea.  A small Jewish community has resided there for hundreds of years, where it has enjoyed relative tolerance and prosperity.  Today, Azerbaijan is one of Israel's largest suppliers of natural gas.

Safarli said the company has no plans to suspend flights to Israel, "because the Israeli state guarantees security."

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