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A two hours shutdown in Eilat airport due to security threats

The decision was linked to terrorist activity in the Sinai desert, which borders on the southern port city
12.08.13 / 00:00
Photo: Amnon Trabelsi
12.08.13
Photo: Amnon Trabelsi

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) ordered the immediate shutdown of the airport at Eilat last Thursday, to all arriving and departing flights. A military spokeswoman said the airfield in the Red Sea city was shut "due to security assessments".

Two hours later a military official and Israel Radio said it had been reopened. At around 9 P.M., Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz instructed the airport to resume operations.

Eilat, on Israel's southern tip, is a major destination for domestic and international tourists. It is close to the Sinai, where Islamic militants and tribesmen engaged in smuggling and other criminal activity have defied Egyptian security forces for years.

The assessment is most likely linked to terrorist activity in the Sinai desert, which borders on the southern port city.

Upon the airport's closure, eight passenger flights that were scheduled to land at the airport were expected to be rerouted, and the nearby Ovda Airport in the Negev was opened.

The Egyptian military has been conducting a large scale offensive against terror cells that operate in Sinai, in the last few weeks. The IDF has assessed that terrorists will try to launch rockets at Eilat.

Sinai has become increasingly lawless amid the instability generated by the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in early July.However, there was no suggestion that this closure is the result of an immediate threat to attack the airport

 

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