Monday, August 21, 2006


Israel insists Beirut flights go via Jordan: source

"BEIRUT (Reuters) - Airlines resumed flights to and from Lebanon's war-damaged capital Beirut on Monday, but at Israel's insistence all planes were routed through Jordan for security checks, a senior industry source said.

Lebanon's flag carrier, Middle East Airlines, announced it had resumed flights to all its destinations on Monday. It said they would be routed through Amman where passengers would stay on board for a transit time "not exceeding 50 minutes".

It gave no reason, but a senior industry source said the enforced stop in Amman was a condition set by Israel, which is determined to stop Hizbollah guerrillas from re-arming after a U.N.-backed truce took effect a week ago.

"They say it's for security checks. It's not an acceptable reason. It's part of the pressure that is being put on Lebanon by Israel," said the source, who asked not to be named.

"It's absurd. I don't think Hizbollah is going to smuggle weapons or hostages or part of their leadership on a commercial flight," the source added."

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