Airlines Cancel Flights To Israel Amid Ongoing Hamas Attack

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The American Embassy in Israel announced early Saturday morning that Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport is still open, but that security and staff availability may affect flights. It is advised that travelers check with their airline. The embassy staff are under a shelter in place notice.

Delta, United and American Airlines have all canceled direct flights scheduled Saturday into Ben Gurion Airport, Israel’s main commercial air hub.

American told HuffPost in a statement that it was waiving fees for changing flights to Israel through next week and would “continue to monitor the situation with safety and security top of mind and will adjust our operation as needed.”

German airline Lufthansa told CNN in a statement that one flight would run from Tel Aviv to Frankfurt this weekend, but others have been canceled.

Some planes bound for Tel Aviv were diverted mid-flight as the fighting broke out: A Ryanair flight from Berlin was forced to return to its starting point, as was a United flight out of San Francisco, according to FlightAware, a flight-tracking website.

El Al flights appear to be operating normally. Israel’s national carrier equips its planes with missile defence systems and has flown in the past even when other airlines grounded their aircraft. A CNN crew that landed at Ben Gurion Airport

on the ground as sirens began going off on Saturday.

Fire and smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Saturday after militant Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip overwhelmed the heavily fortified Israeli border. Fatima Shbair, via Associated Press

The U.S. State Department warned Americans to avoid traveling to Gaza prior to the Hamas attacks. They also advised caution in Israel due to the threat terrorism. Hamas militants launched thousands of rockets early Saturday morning from Gaza, a strip of land adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea. The rockets were fired into cities and towns in southern and central Israel. In a televised address, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the nation that they were “at war” and that the enemy would pay an unprecedented price. documented the sceneIn a televised address, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the nation they were “at war” and that “the enemy will pay an unprecedented price.”

Israeli civilians have been killed and wounded in addition to military forces, with Hamas fighters taking hostages back to Gaza, the American Embassy in Israel said. The American Embassy in Israel said that Hamas fighters have taken hostages back to Gaza, killing and wounding Israeli civilians.