Israeli fighter jets scrambled after Egyptian plane enters Israeli airspace

Israeli F-15's escorted the plane to Ben Gurion International Airport without incident and the passengers disembarked.

April 23, 2016 16:05
1 minute read.
IAF fighter jet during the Red Flag joint exercise at Nellis air force base in Nevada

IAF fighter jet during the Red Flag joint exercise at Nellis air force base in Nevada . (photo credit: COURTESY IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)

Two IAF aircraft were scrambled on Saturday morning after an Egyptian civilian aircraft failed to establish radio contact upon entering Israeli airspace.

The aircraft had permission to land at Ben-Gurion Airport, and the fighter jets accompanied the plane on its descent, during which time radio contact was made. The jets then returned to base, an IDF spokeswoman said.

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Israeli F-15’s escorted the plane to Ben-Gurion Airport without incident and those on board disembarked.

According to the preliminary investigation, after taking off from Cairo the pilots failed to identify themselves on the air-to-ground communication system as they penetrated Israeli territory.

After a probe, the plane and its passengers returned to Egypt.

Meanwhile, Yediot Aharonot reported on Friday that Russian forces in Syria have fired at least twice on Israel Air Force planes, prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seek improved operational coordination with Moscow.

Asked about the alleged incidents, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “In this case, Israeli press reports are far from reality.”

Separately, Channel 10 said a Russian warplane approached an Israeli warplane off the Mediterranean coast of Syria last week but that there was no contact between them.

An IDF spokesman declined comment.

Netanyahu’s office and the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv did not immediately respond.

Israel, which says it has carried out dozens of bombings in Syria to foil suspected arms hand-overs to Hezbollah, was quick to set up an operational hotline with Moscow designed to avoid accidentally trading fire with Russian forces.

According to Yediot, the reported Russian fire on Israeli planes was first raised with Putin by President Reuven Rivlin, who visited Moscow on March 15. At the time, Putin responded that he was unaware of the incidents.

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