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Arkia Airlines began to fly Israeli tourists off the Greek islands yesterday so they wouldn't get stuck in the two-day general strike starting today. The strike will shut down air service and air traffic control in Greece. Some 4,500 Israelis are vacationing there: Arkia has been flying a large number of them home a day early.

Arkia said it added five flights today beyond the four that had been scheduled. On Friday it will be adding four flights to bring the Israeli vacationers home.

Altogether, Arkia flew some 24,000 Israelis to various destinations in the Greek islands during the Sukkot holiday, including to Rhodes, Kos, Santorini, Mykonos and Crete.

The strike could also disrupt air traffic between Israel and the rest of the world, since a great many flight paths cross Greece.

Greece's flight controllers have been causing disruptions for about two weeks.