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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

El Al 767 lands safely after bomb scare

I'm sure glad I came back through London rather than Paris today (and did not fly El Al this time in any event). An El Al 767 was accompanied by French, Greek and Israeli fighter planes on the entire four-hour flight from Paris to Tel Aviv this afternoon and evening after - according to Israel Television's nightly news magazine - an anonymous email was received by El Al last week indicating that a bomb was to be placed on today's flight. And best of all - the passengers knew nothing about it.
Before taking off from Paris, French authorities had checked the plane and ruled out the possibility of a bomb on board, however nevertheless it was decided, in consultation with Israeli authorities, that two French fighter jets would be dispatched to accompany the plane.

As the 767 approached Greece, the French accompaniment was replaced by Greek jets, which were subsequently replaced by IAF F-15 fighter jets as the plane neared Israel. The Israeli jets took off from Tel Nof air force base.
I have to say that I don't understand the rationale of this. What would the fighters done if a bomb had exploded on the plane (God forbid): sprayed fire extinguisher? Either the plane had a bomb in which case it should not have been allowed to take off, or it did not have a bomb in which case the entire 'show' should not have been necessary.


At 11:24 PM, Blogger Yishai said...

You're right. It does appear though that perhaps there would have been a terrorist/hijaking component to the plot, and at worst, I'm sure it was a good chance for some real-time unanounced training.

At 2:01 AM, Blogger Akiva said...

If, G-d forbid, a bomb goes off on a flight and doesn't instantly completely disable the aircraft, an escort can view the external damage to determine the extent - giving some clue if an immediate landing should be attempted, a water-ditch, or attempt to limp to the nearest available runway.

Internal sensors might not indicate things such as a fuel leak, or massive cracks or tearing (or like the Australian flight, an actual hole - size and impact).


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