Hamas warned airlines to stay away from Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, threatening to target it with rockets.
Friday’s warning by Hamas’ armed wing, reported by Reuters, came on the fourth day of Israel’s operation against Hamas in Gaza. The campaign, Operation Protective Edge, was launched after an intensification of rocket fire from Gaza.
“The armed wing of Hamas movement has decided to respond to the Israeli aggression and we warn you against carrying out flights to Ben Gurion airport, which will be one of our targets today because it also hosts a military air base,” Reuters quoted a statement by Hamas’ Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades as saying.
Hamas claimed earlier that it already had fired at least one rocket toward the airport, although no such hit was reported.
The terrorist group said it had issued the warning so that airlines could avoid injury to passengers.
Several rockets from the Gaza Strip were fired toward the greater Tel Aviv area on Friday morning. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted three projectiles. No injuries were reported.
Incoming air traffic was halted as sirens were sounded in the area, an airport spokesperson told The Jerusalem Post. Flight traffic was resumed as normal after the sirens subsided.
A spokesman for the Airports Authority said that a siren had sounded at Ben Gurion and that all activity had stopped for about 10 minutes, but that the siren was part of a general alert in the Tel Aviv area and not a direct threat to the airport.
Terrorists in Gaza have fired hundreds of rockets into Israel this week, reaching deeper into the country than ever before. On Friday, one man suffered very serious injuries when a rocket explosion caused a fire near a gas station in Ashdod.
Israeli aircraft have launched more than 1,000 strikes on suspected terrorist sites in Gaza. Palestinian emergency care officials have said at least 100 people, many of them civilians, have been killed in the attacks.