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IDF Closes Off Northern Airspace to Civilian Flights

Arkia flights between Haifa and Eilat have been cancelled until May 9. IDF move due to Syria tension.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 5/5/2013, 6:54 PM

Passenger jet
Passenger jet
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The IDF has decided to close off the air space over northern Israel to civilian flights.

According to the Channel 2 news website, Arkia flights between Haifa and Eilat have been cancelled until May 9.

This is the second time in the last few months that the airspace over Haifa has been declared a no-fly zone due to security tensions, according to a  report in Maariv. This time, the news outlet said, it will remain closed for several days.

The decision will mostly affect passenger planes that land or take off in routes that pass over Haifa.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Feisal al-Mekdad on Sunday called Israel's bombing of a weapons transport in Syria a “declaration of war.” Speaking in an interview on CNN, al-Mekdad said that Israel was siding with “Islamist terrorists” to unseat President Bashar al-Assad, and that Syria would respond “at the time and in the manner that it chooses to.”

Israel has not confirmed or denied the claims that it had attacked a convoy in Syria that was transporting Iranian produced missiles to Hizbullah over Syrian territory. “We don't respond to these kinds of reports,” an IDF spokesperson told foreign news media Sunday.