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Israeli military orders shutdown of Eilat Airport

Eilat airport in southern Israel was briefly shut on Thursday after the military ordered the closure of surrounding airspace.

“Security assessments” based on “intelligence and other regional developments” had prompted the move, the military said.

The airport re-opened after a closure of two hours.

Eilat has been targeted in the past by rockets fired by Islamist militants in the neighbouring Sinai peninsula.

Sinai has become increasingly lawless amid the instability generated by the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in early July.

However, there was no suggestion that this closure is the result of an immediate threat to attack the airport.

Eilat airport is a major Red Sea tourist destination.


“The airport is open after a new situation report,” a spokeswoman told the French news agency AFP.

She gave no further details.

Earlier, the Israel Aviation Authority said eight flights scheduled to land in Eilat would be diverted to another airport, Uvda, some 60km (36 miles) away, Reuters news agency said.

Eilat sits on the border with Sinai and is an obvious target for militants organising there, reports the BBC’s Middle East correspondent Kevin Connolly.

Rocket fire prompted the closure of Eilat airport most recently in April. In July, remnants from a rocket fired from Sinai were found in the hills north of the city.

The Israeli government is completing a fence that runs the entire length of the border, has stepped up military patrols and has in the past deployed batteries of its Iron Dome anti-missile system in the area, our correspondent says.