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IDF orders evacuation of civilian aircraft from Haifa airport

IDF orders evacuation of civilian aircraft from Haifa airport

Citing security concerns, the Israeli Airports Authority has instructed all civilian planes making use of the northern airport to divert to other airports • Lebanese reports: Israeli warplanes conducting mock raids over Nabatiyeh.

Lilach Shoval and Daniel Siryoti and Israel Hayom Staff

Israel ordered all private aircraft out of the Haifa Airport by 11:00 Wednesday, citing security concerns, Army Radio reported.

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit refused to elaborate but said "security needs relating to the air space in the area have been addressed."

The airport is operated by the Israeli Airports Authority, who told Israel Hayom that any plane that needs to depart or land at the airport would be allowed to do so. However, Army Radio reported that the IDF had imposed a mandatory evacuation of the airport and has restricted flights for civilian aircraft in the area.

The move may be related to reports out of Lebanon that Israeli warplanes were on Wednesday conducting "mock raids" over Lebanese territory. According to the website of the Lebanese Ministry of Information, "Israeli warplanes were conducting mock raids over the area of Nabatiyeh."

The closure of Haifa airport comes a day after the IDF deployed its third Iron Dome anti-rocket battery in northern Israel, a week after the Israel Air Force, according to foreign reports, bombed an arms convoy and a military research center inside Syria.

Israel has said it could use military action to prevent chemical weapons and advanced arms from Syria slipping into the hands of terrorist groups as a result of the civil war there.

According to the Israeli military, the deployment of a third Iron Dome battery in the north was part of the system's operational implementation program at sites around the country.

Two Iron Dome batteries were deployed in Haifa and Safed over the past week, as tension on the northern border increased due to the situation in Syria.

Overall, Israel has five operational Iron Dome batteries. In the coming months, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems will deliver a sixth Iron Dome battery (with upgraded interception capabilities).

Meanwhile, fierce violence continued in Syria on Tuesday. Arab media outlets reported that rebels battled Syrian soldiers in Damascus and its suburbs on Tuesday and that 85 people were killed around the country.

The Syrian military also reportedly surrounded and shelled the city of Daraa in the southwestern part of the country.

Syrian opposition sources said on Tuesday that rebels had successfully gained control of Syrian military checkpoints and roadblocks on major highways across the country.

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