FAA Grounds Flights to Israel for 24 Hours After Rocket Strike

The Federal Aviation Administration has grounded all United States flights to Tel Aviv for the next 24 hours in response to a rocket strike near the main airport.

The federal mandate came shortly after Delta announced that it had canceled all flights to Israel indefinitely, citing a report of a rocket that forced a flight from New York to be diverted. US Airways, which has one daily flight from Philadelphia, also canceled that flight and the return trip Tuesday.

European airlines Air France and Lufthansa respectively announced 24-hour and 36-hour suspensions for their flights to Tel Aviv a short time later.

The Delta Boeing 747 departed John F. Kennedy International Airport with 273 passengers and 17 crew aboard and was flying over the Mediterranean Tuesday when it was diverted to France because of reports of a rocket or associated debris near Ben Gurion International Airport.

An Israeli police spokesman said a rocket fell three miles from the airport earlier in the day, but said he was not aware of any immediate situation at the time the Delta flight was diverted.

American Airlines told NBC News that it was meeting to discuss its flights to Tel Aviv.

More than 600 people have been killed in Gaza since the conflict began, and another 3,700 have been wounded, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

Twenty-seven Israeli soldiers have been killed since the start of the operation, which has included attacks on nearly 3,000 targets in Gaza, according to the Israeli army.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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