WASHINGTON, D.C. (AA) – The United States’ national aviation authority has removed a ban on U.S. airlines flying into and out of Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport.
The decision to restrict flights was made Tuesday by the Federal Aviation Administration following a rocket attack that struck roughly one mile from the airport.
The cancellation of the previous “Notice to Airmen” became effective at approximately 4:45 GMT. The federal regulator made the announcement late Wednesday.
“Before making this decision, the FAA worked with its U.S. government counterparts to assess the security situation in Israel and carefully reviewed both significant new information and measures the government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation,” the agency said in a statement.
Earlier Wednesday, the agency had announced an extension of the ban for an additional 24 hours as it monitored the situation.
The flight prohibition was harshly criticized by some U.S. officials, especially Republican senator Ted Cruz, along with the Israeli government.
The statement said the Federal Aviation Administration’s primary mission is to protect people traveling on U.S. airlines.
“The agency will continue to closely monitor the very fluid situation around Ben Gurion Airport and will take additional actions, as necessary,” the agency added.
About 32 other international airlines also suspended flights to Ben Gurion Airport, including Turkish Airlines, Germany’s Lufthansa Airlines and Air France, because of deteriorating security conditions.
Since July 7, Israel has been battering the Gaza Strip with air and naval bombardments with the alleged aim of halting Palestinian rocket fire.
Last week, Israel stepped up its offensive to include ground operations, sending thousands of troops into the coastal enclave.
The death toll from Israel’s military onslaught against the besieged Palestinian territory rose to 718, and the number of injured rose to 4,563 early Thursday, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
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