A ban on U.S. airline flights to Israel because of the fighting in Gaza was lifted late Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The ban, put in place on Tuesday after a rocket struck a mile from the Tel Aviv airport, sent thousands of fliers scrambling to change their plans. The FAA extended the ban for another 24 hours on Wednesday, and several European carriers also extended their bans. But US Airways/American Airlines had said Wednesday that it would resume service on Thursday, pending FAA approval.
The FAA said it made the decision to end the ban after assessing security in Israel and reviewing measures the Israeli government was taking to mitigate risks to civilian aircraft. But the ban was heavily criticized by some who saw it as a slap against Israel, which the administration denied. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg flew to Tel Aviv aboard the Israeli carrier El Al to show his solidarity with Israel.
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