The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told U.S. carriers on Tuesday not to fly to or from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, following a rocket strike that landed just one mile from the airport.
The prohibition, which applies to U.S. carriers and does not include foreign operators, ends at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday.
United Airlines, US Airways and Delta reportedly suspended flights to Tel Aviv. Delta had a Tel Aviv-bound Boeing 747 from JFK carrying 290 people in the air Tuesday afternoon, but rerouted it to Paris.
The notice came at a time when airlines are more sensitive flying over troubled areas, after 298 people were killed when a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was downed over Ukraine last week.
Israelis have been fighting Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip since July 8, and the strike was the closest to the airport since the fighting began, according to the New York Daily News.
However, Israel’s Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said on Tuesday that the flight cancellations should be reversed, because it gave a victory to terrorism, according to published reports. A local leader agreed.
“I understand the safety concerns of the airlines,” said Rabbi Yossi Blesofsky of Chabad of Northeast Queens in Bayside. “Essentially this is what the terrorists want. They want to isolate Israel and create disruptions to people’s normal lives.”
The FAA said it will continue to monitor the situation and will update the airlines with further instructions.