An El Al civilian aircraft flying from New York to Tel Aviv was escorted by military aircraft into Israeli airspace on Good Friday, April 30, after entering the Flight Information Area (FIR) of Athens.
When the plane entered the Athens FIR, NATO’s Joint Air Operations Center in Torrejon, Spain, alerted the Greek Air Force to escort it into Israeli airspace.
A pair of F-16 HAFs initially took off from Combat Wing 111 in Araxos and approached an Israeli aircraft. A second pair of F-16s then flew from Combat Wing 115 at Kasteli and escorted the Israeli aircraft into Israeli airspace.
State broadcaster ERt reported that as the plane flew over Spain, the pilot was suspected of hijacking or detonating a bomb on board and alerted the authorities.
El Al’s plane landed safely at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv at 10:00 on Friday. Whether there was a bomb on board or the hijackers were never told.