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Israel on safety ‘alert’

March 18, 2014 01:00

Minor measures taken to sharpen Israel’s air safety protocols following the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines jet.

Malaysia Airlines

A US Navy helicopter takes off from the USS Pinckney to assist in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Following reports that Israel had tightened air safety procedures in light of the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines jetliner, Transportation Ministry officials stressed that no drastic measures had actually been taken.

“Essentially, there is an instruction to increase alertness and nothing more,” the spokesman said. “The Transportation Ministry situation room is constantly prepared for any event.”

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Channel 2 reported on Sunday night that airport security officials had decided to sharpen Israel’s air safety protocols by, among other measures, requiring foreign aircraft to identify themselves earlier than before upon approaching Israeli airspace.

A Transportation Ministry spokesman told The Jerusalem Post, however, that officials were not yet integrating such rules and were only “being more fastidious about procedures” that already exist.

Channel 2 also reported that a long list of new procedures, which had to remain confidential for security reasons, were being implemented.

Countless opinions as to what might have happened to the Malaysian plane and whether it was victim to accident or terror are at play all over the world.

Rafi Sela, president of AR Challenges, a Kfar Vradim-based homeland security consultancy, told the Post he agreed with the line of thinking that a terrorist hijacking had occurred. He said he believed the hijackers might have killed the passengers by starving them of oxygen and then landing in a terror-friendly country.

Stressing that Israel was the “only country” that uses proper security intelligence at its airports, Sela advocated a strengthening of safety measures given the situation.
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