Israeli officials confirmed
Wednesday fighter jets were scrambled to intercept a Continental
Airlines flight that failed to identify itself when it entered the
Reuters reports the fighters escorted the Boeing 777 -- Flight
90, bound for Tel Aviv from Newark, NJ -- to a safe landing at Ben
Gurion International Airport. Investigators are looking into the
possibility the airliner experienced radio problems, precluding the
flight crew from contacting ATC.
Though the incident ended peacefully, with an uneventful
landing... when the first reports came in of an unidentified
aircraft entering Israeli airspace, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and
his top generals were put on high alert -- a precursor to
authorizing the use of force to down an unidentified aircraft.
"This was the closest we ever came to intercepting a civilian
airplane," USA Today reports an unnamed military officer told the
The Post adds the fighters intercepted the airliner within five
miles of Tel Aviv. The pilots conducted a visual inspection of the
plane and determined the commercial aircraft did not pose a
"From the moment that we lost contact with (the jet) we treated
the incident as a possible terror act. When the fighter jets
approached the plane, they guided it west. It contacted us and
that's how we were sure it was not a terror attempt," another
source told Ynet News.