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Israel says Gaza offensive may disrupt commercial flights

Reuters

July 8, 2014 | 8:23 am

<em>Orthodox Jewish men watch Israeli air strikes over the Gaza Strip from a lookout point near Sderot on July 8. Photo by Baz Ratner/Reuters</em>

Orthodox Jewish men watch Israeli air strikes over the Gaza Strip from a lookout point near Sderot on July 8. Photo by Baz Ratner/Reuters

Israel narrowed its civilian air corridor on Tuesday and said takeoffs and landings at Ben-Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv may be delayed by its Gaza air offensive.

The Israel Airports Authority said no flights had been canceled at Ben-Gurion, some 50 miles north of Gaza, as result of the hostilities, but takeoffs had been diverted to the east and landings to the north of the airport.

"Due to air force operations, Israel's civilian air corridor has been narrowed," it said in a statement. "There could be delays in takeoffs and landings."

Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired dozens of rockets into southern Israel on Tuesday and Israel intensified its bombing of targets in the enclave.

Longer-range rockets in the arsenal of Hamas, the dominant armed group in the Gaza Strip, can reach the airport and other areas in central Israel. On Monday, air raid sirens, warning of possible rocket attacks, sounded in Israeli towns on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, but police said they were false alarms.

Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile batteries, operating in the south, have intercepted several rockets fired from the Gaza Strip in the current crisis.

Ben-Gurion remained open during Israel's 2012 eight-day air offensive against militants in the Gaza Strip, and an Iron Dome battery was placed near the airport during that conflict.

Officials have not commented on whether the anti-missile system has been deployed near Ben-Gurion in the current fighting.

Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan; Editing by Larry King

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