Tension As 3 Biggest US Airlines Suspend Flights To Israel Over Deadly Attacks

Tension As 3 Biggest US Airlines Suspend Flights To Israel Over Deadly Attacks

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By Spy Uganda Correspondent 

USA: Three Of America’s biggest airline companies including American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines have suspended flights to Israel amid rising violence in the conflict between Israel and Palestinians.

Israeli airstrikes hit Gaza, and Palestinian militants in Gaza fired rockets at targets in Israel, including the main airport in Tel Aviv.

United Airlines canceled flights from Chicago, Newark and San Francisco through Saturday. A spokesperson said United will let customers booked on Tel Aviv flights through May 25 change their itineraries without paying a higher fare.

American Airlines canceled its daily flight from New York to Tel Aviv on Wednesday and Thursday and offered to put passengers on flights at later dates, according to an airline spokesperson. Delta canceled flights from New York to Tel Aviv throughout Thursday.

Company representatives said the airlines were monitoring the situation for when they might resume the flights.

The deadly exchange of rocket fire and air strikes, the biggest fighting between the Palestinian militant group and Israeli forces since the 2014 war in Gaza, were sparked by growing unrest over control of Jerusalem and attempts by Jewish settlers to take over Arab-controlled communities.

The tensions have spilled over into the West Bank, where hundreds of residents in Arab communities across Israel staged overnight protests against recent actions of Israeli security forces against Palestinians.  A 26-year-old Palestinian was killed Tuesday in clashes with Israeli troops in a refugee camp near the city of Hebron.  In the city of Lod, near Tel Aviv, a 25-year-old Arab man was shot and killed by a Jewish resident.

So far least 40 people in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem have been killed in fighting between Hamas and Israeli security forces that escalated Wednesday.

Israel launched a new round of air strikes on Gaza early Wednesday morning, targeting police and security installations. A multi-story residential and office building was heavily damaged by the strikes.  No one was in the building at the time of the air strikes.

An earlier round of strikes Tuesday leveled a multi-story residential building that also housed several Hamas offices. Residents in the building and surrounding area were warned to evacuate before the building was destroyed.

The airstrikes, which Israeli military forces say targeted rocket launch sites, intelligence offices and the homes of Hamas leaders, have killed 35 people in Gaza, including 10 children, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.  More than 200 others have been injured in the air strikes.

More than 700 Palestinians have been hurt fighting in the contested city of Jerusalem and across the West Bank.

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