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Israel Air Force planes were mistakenly scrambled last weekend to shoot down a Continental Airlines passenger plane suspected of being flown to Israel with terrorist intentions, Haaretz has learned.

A technical failure, apparently with ground communication units, is believed to have prevented the pilots from identifying their plan upon entry to Israeli airspace, as required.

The Israeli jets were sent out to identify the plane and shoot it down if necessary, according to an established safety procedure.

The airports authority confirmed the incident in a statement, noting the airliner landed safely in Ben-Gurion International Airport several minutes later, and that the matter was being investigated.