Air Canada flight circles Israel airport after rocket fire

An Air Canada flight was forced to circle Tel Aviv, after rockets were fired at Ben Gurion International Airport on Friday, The Toronto Star reports

The flight, number 84, was Air Canada’s first to Israel since U.S. and international aviation lifted a ban on flights to Ben Gurion airport due to military tensions between the nation and Hamas leaders. 

Air Canada officials told the paper that the flight was able to land safely after completing a 10-minute circle.

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“Our flight AC84 originating from Toronto was advised by Israeli Air Traffic Control (ATC) to perform a standard go-around until airspace conditions could be confirmed as safe for landing,” Air Canada spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur said.

“Our pilots altered course following ATC’s instructions and landed 10 minutes later safely, without incident, at 12:07 local,” she continued. “The safety of our passengers and crew is our first priority and we will continue to monitor developments very closely.”

The Federal Aviation Administration banned U.S airlines from flying to Israel for about 36 hours this week. 

The agency came under fire for the decision from U.S. and Israeli politicians, who argued that suspending flights to Tel Aviv would undermine a critical U.S. ally in the Middle East.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) flew to Tel Aviv on an Israeli airline Tuesday night to demonstrate that he thought it was still safe for U.S. residents to continue traveling there. 

Secretary of State John Kerry also traveled to Israel late Tuesday in spite of the commercial flight ban to try to negotiate an end to violence between Israel and Hamas that worsened this week, following an Israeli ground invasion into Gaza. 

The FAA lifted the ban on U.S airlines flying to Israel Thursday morning. 

The fighting in Israel has left hundreds dead, as the international community scrambles to negotiate a cease-fire.