IAF F-16 AP File Photo
Israel Air Force F-16 taking off on a mission. Photo by AP
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A British passenger airliner taking off from Egypt strayed into Israeli airspace and nearly collided with an Israel Air Force F-16 fighter jet last month, Haaretz has learned.

The incident is being investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority and the air force. A complaint has been filed with the Egyptian aviation authorities.

On September 25, the airliner took off from Sharm el-Sheikh on its way to Europe, and was not supposed to have crossed over Israeli territory. When the airplane already set its course from Taba to El Arish over the Sinai Peninsula and was flying west of the Israeli-Egyptian border, it suddenly strayed north, crossing 13 miles into Israeli airspace.

As operational activity involving fighter jets was taking place in the area at the time, the airliner came dangerously close to an F-16 jet. The pilots remained completely unaware until an air traffic controller from within Israel intervened and prevented the jets from colliding.

A statement released by the IDF Spokesperson's Office said that the civilian plane " was monitored by Cairo at the time. The airplane strayed north into Israeli airspace, without coordination or permission. A complaint has been filed with the Civil Aviation Authority, which forwarded it to the Egyptian aviation authorities." The CAA declined to comment.