Hamas terrorist group called on international airlines to immediately halt their flights to any airport in Israel.
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The Hamas movement has said it fired a number of large rockets at Israel’s Ramon Airport near Eilat on Thursday, where incoming passenger flights were earlier diverted after waves of rocket launches aimed at Ben Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv.
Abu Ubaida, a spokesman for Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing, said that the new Ayyash 250 rockets had a reach of 250km and had been aimed at the airport in the far south of Israel.
The range of the 250kg rocket would mean it could target all of Israel’s territory.
“We enter the Ayyash 250 into service and tell the enemy, here are your airports, and every point from the north of Palestine to its south is within range of our missiles, and here is the next deterrent weapon flying in the sky of Palestine towards every target that we define and decide with the help of God,” Ubaida said in a statement, according to Palestinian media.
He also called on “international airlines to immediately halt their flights to any airport” in Israel.
The rocket is named after Yahya Ayyash, a leading Hamas operative who was assassinated by Israel in 1996.
Ramon Airport confirmed it had suspended operations on Thursday, after a rocket fired by Hamas landed in the area, causing no damage or casualties.
An Israeli official said the airport was now operating as usual.
Earlier, Israel had redirected flights to Ramon Airport from Ben Gurion, its main Tel Aviv-area airport, due to the security situation.
Social media carried footage, purportedly taped by a passenger on an El Al flight from Brussels that was the first plane rerouted to Ramon, showing the view through the window of rockets being fired and intercepted over Tel Aviv. Reuters could not independently verify the footage.
On Thursday, British Airways said it was cancelling flights to Tel Aviv, the latest international carrier to avoid flying to Israel amid the escalating violence there.
Source: Middle East Eye