A defiant former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – in "solidarity with the Israeli people" – announced Tuesday night that he'd fly to Tel Aviv to protest a Federal Aviation Administration ban on U.S. carriers there.
"This evening I will be flying on El Al to Tel Aviv to show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel," the billionaire ex-mayor said in a statement posted on his website
"Ben Gurion is the best-protected airport in the world, and El Al flights have been regularly flying in and out of it safely. The flight restrictions are a mistake that hands Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately. I strongly urge the FAA to reverse course and permit U.S. airlines to fly to Israel."
on Tuesday said the ban – for at least 24 hours — was instituted after a rocket landed about a mile away from Ben Gurion International Airport. Other international carriers also suspended flights to Israel's main airport.
The ban comes in the wake of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shoot-down
over eastern Ukraine, where government troops are battling Russian-supported separatists.
According to CNN
, at least 41 rockets were fired from Gaza toward Israel on Tuesday in the escalating conflict.
CNN reported that Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes insisted the Obama administration is "not going to overrule" the FAA ban on U.S. flights to Israel.
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