WASHINGTON - The Federal Aviation Administration told U.S. airlines Tuesday they are prohibited from flying to the Tel Aviv airport in Israel for 24 hours following a Hamas rocket explosion nearby. The ban began 12:15 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, the agency said in a statement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised the issue of the ban with Secretary of State John Kerry, who was in the Middle East on Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
"The FAA's notice was issued to protect American citizens and American carriers. The only consideration in issuing the notice was the safety and security of our citizens," Psaki said in a statement. "The FAA continues to monitor and evaluate the situation, and will issue updated guidelines within 24 hours of the time the notice went into effect, she said.
In its notice to airlines, the FAA said that "due to the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza, all flight operations to/from Ben Gurion International Airport by U.S. operators are prohibited until further advised." The Hamas rocket strike landed about 1 mile from the airport, the agency said.
The notice applies only to U.S. airlines since the FAA has no authority over carriers from other nations.