All flights were operating normally at Israel’s Ben Gurion international airport near Tel Aviv early Thursday despite a warning issued by Hamas’s armed wing in Gaza, officials said.
Ofer Lefler, spokesman for the Israel Airports Authority, told AFP that flights had been disrupted for a brief 10 minute pause but aside from that, everything was operating normally.
“There has been no change to takeoffs or landings. Flights were interrupted for 10 minutes for security reasons but I cannot give any details on that,” he said.
IAA Director Giora Romm was indignant at the prospect of making special preparations on account of Hamas threats.
“I am not ready to let somebody else dictate the daily agenda of the State of Israel,” he said. “Every time that they tell us that something will happen, that they will shoot at a certain time, we have to tell them that at six in the morning ten bombs will fall on them in 10 minutes. Just like they got a watch, we also got a watch for our bar mitzvah.”
In a televised address late on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades had warned foreign airlines against flying into Tel Aviv from 6 a.m. Thursday in a bid to disrupt air traffic.
Contrary to IAA assertions, however, Royal Jordanian airlines said that it had canceled a flight Thursday morning due to the unstable security situation. The airline had only resumed flights to Tel Aviv last week after a hiatus attributed to security concerns.
Last month, major US and European airlines suspended flights to Tel Aviv for two days after a rocket landed in a city a mile from Ben Gurion.
But there was no rocket fire directed at the airport on Thursday morning, an army spokeswoman said.
The suspension of international flights in July was hailed by Hamas as a “great victory.”
On Wednesday, the Qassam Brigades claimed it had fired a rocket at one of Israel’s offshore gas platforms, although the army said it was not aware of anything being hit.