Jets take aim at Blair's plane

By Shelly Paz, May 30, 2008

Former British prime minister Tony Blair came close to being shot down by Israeli Air Force jets last week after air-traffic controllers noticed what they thought was a suspicious aircraft heading into Israeli airspace from the Sinai peninsula and tried to make contact.

Mr Blair, now envoy to the Middle East Quartet, was returning to his Jerusalem headquarters from a World Economic Forum meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

When air-traffic controllers saw his plane apparently flying low and close to the plane in which Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was travelling, they asked the flight crew for identification. Failing to receive a response, they scrambled the IAF jets. This alerted the crew, who informed air-traffic control that Mr Blair was on the flight.

When asked about the incident, the army spokesman’s office said that “the air force does not comment on its operational activities”.

Mr Blair’s spokesman said that those on board were not aware of the drama as it unfolded.

Last updated: 10:55am, May 29 2008