Jets take aim at Blair’s plane

The Jewish Chronicle - - News -

FOR­MER BRI­TISH prime min­is­ter Tony Blair came close to be­ing shot down by Is­raeli Air Force jets last week af­ter air-traf­fic con­trollers no­ticed what they thought was a sus­pi­cious air­craft head­ing into Is­raeli airspace from the Si­nai penin­sula and tried to make con­tact.

Mr Blair, now en­voy to the Mid­dle East Quar­tet, was re­turn­ing to his Jerusalem head­quar­ters from a World Eco­nomic Fo­rum meet­ing in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

When air-traf­fic con­trollers saw his plane ap­par­ently fly­ing low and close to the plane in which For­eign Min­is­ter Tzipi Livni was trav­el­ling, they asked the flight crew for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. Fail­ing to re­ceive a re­sponse, they scram­bled the IAF jets. This alerted the crew, who in­formed air-traf­fic con­trol that Mr Blair was on the flight.

When asked about the in­ci­dent, the army spokesman’s of­fice said that “the air force does not com­ment on its op­er­a­tional ac­tiv­i­ties”.

Mr Blair’s spokesman said that those on board were not aware of the drama as it un­folded. SHELLY PAZ

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