Former British Prime Minister almost shot down by Israeli airforce

May 25, 2008 9:41 AM Saed Bannoura Israel, Israeli attacks, News Report 0

Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain and the Envoy for the Quartet for Mideast Peace had a 'near-miss' on Friday when Israeli fighter jets mistook his plane for an 'enemy aircraft', and were within seconds of shooting him down. Two fighter jets were sent in hot pursuit of Blair's aircraft after they monitored the plane taking off from the Sinai the northern part of Egypt. Apparently, Blair was on his private jet after attending a World Economic Forum meeting at Sharm el Sheikh en route to Israel.

Apparently the Israel sent fighter jets to intercept the jet after failing to have proper contact with the pilot. Blair's staff had informed the Israeli airtraffic controlle of the flight’s plans, but according to the Israeli newspaper Maariv, due to a “technical error” the information was miscommunicated.

According to the Israeli airforce, they saw a suspicious aircraft entering Israeli airspace and tried to make contact. When they received no response, they sent out the fighter jets. The jets took a position above the Blair's aircraft, so that the pilot could see them and know that he was a suspecious target.

The “technical error” in not receiving Blair's pilot's communications was blamed on a new communications infrastructure that the Israeli airforce has put in place in recent months to identify all suspicious aircraft and be able to mobilize quickly to shoot them down.

Blair was not told of the incident while he was on the plane, and only received word about how close he had come to death when he landed, and the media asked him about it.

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Saed Bannoura

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