Hamas is calling the FAA’s decision to temporarily ban air travel to Tel Aviv a “great victory” for the group’s cause. The restriction was lifted late Wednesday night.
The spokesman for the group the U.S. officially designates as a foreign terrorist organization echoed a warning voiced a day earlier by Israel’s transportation minister Yisrael Katz who said the U.S. government decision was a “prize to terror.”
"The success of Hamas in closing Israeli airspace is a great victory for the resistance, and is the crown of Israel's failure," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement quoted by Agence France-Press.
A departure flight board displays various canceled and delayed flights in Ben Gurion International airport a day after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration imposed a 24-hour restriction on flights there after a Hamas rocket landed Tuesday within a mile of the airport, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
The FAA’s notice Tuesday was issued after a rocket fired from Gaza landed about 1 mile from Ben Gurion International Airport. The rescinding of the directive meant that U.S. airlines were free to resume their flights.
The U.S. government decision Tuesday prompted European airlines to follow suit, causing extensive cancellations of flights to and from Tel Aviv. Israel responded by sending Israeli carriers to rescue stranded travelers in Europe.
It appeared Hamas hoped for continued disruption to Israeli air travel, and on Wednesday aimed a barrage of rockets at central Israel. Hamas took responsibility and said it was aiming at Ben Gurion International Airport, the Times of Israel reported. The Iron Dome anti-missile defense system knocked down two rockets over Tel Aviv.