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Virgin Atlantic latest UK airline to suspend flights to and from Israel

UK airline Virgin Atlantic joined British Airways on Wednesday in suspending flights to and from Tel Aviv amid safety concerns as Israel intensifies its military response to Hamas’s weekend attack. The British Airways move came hours after it turned around one of its flights from London’s Heathrow Airport to Tel Aviv in mid-air, citing fears over the security situation in Israel and the region. Israel maintained its bombardment of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday while also striking targets in southern Lebanon, as militant groups continue to fire rockets. Virgin Atlantic announced late Wednesday it had taken the decision to pause flying to and from Tel Aviv for the next 72 hours. “As the dynamic situation evolves, we’ll keep our flying programme under constant review,” it said, adding staff would contact impacted customers to discuss options which include rebooking to a later date or a refund. Hours earlier, British Airways said in a statement that it was suspending flights to and from Tel Aviv “following the latest assessment of the situation”. “Safety is always our highest priority,” it added, apologising to customers booked to travel to or from the Israeli city for the inconvenience and promising to rebook or refund them. “We continue to monitor the situation in the region closely,” the airline added. Numerous major airlines, including Air France-KLM, Lufthansa and the big US international carriers have all suspended flights to Tel Aviv since Hamas launched its assault on Israel on Saturday. British airline Virgin Atlantic continues to fly between London Heathrow and the Israeli city, however.

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