A bomb alert at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport sent passengers running for safety On Tuesday.
The Gaza conflict had unexpectedly widened its reach after a rocket landed near Israel’s main airport.
US and European airlines immediately suspended flights to Tel Aviv causing travel chaos for hundreds of passengers.
The US Federal Aviation Administration ( FAA) ordered Delta, United and US Airways to halt flights for 24 hours. Europe’s aviation regulator did the same.
Lufthansa, KLM and Air France had already cancelled flights even before the regulator’s warning.
British Airways said it was still considering its position but for the moment its flights were operating (Tuesday 23.00)
One passenger said: “I came to fly and my flight was delayed, then it was cancelled. And then there was a bomb alarm. The whole airport rushed to the bomb shelters. It was terrifying.”
Another said “ They just said the flight was cancelled – operational issues- they didn’t want to elaborate on that. Ad when I called them they said there was no other flight and I could just ask them to book me on El Al, which I’m trying to do.”
With the cancellations bound to have an economic impact the Israeli premier has asked US Secretary of State John Kerry to help restore the flights.
Israel has assured airlines the airport is safe for landings and departures saying that stopping air traffic was handing terrorism a prize.