The Israeli army issued an apology for causing panic Thursday after Israeli jet fighters appeared over the skies of central Israel Thursday morning, alarming citizens as they circled low amid rising tensions in the Middle East, in what was later revealed to be an unannounced flyover rehearsal for Israel's Independence Day celebrations.
Calls from concerned Tel Aviv residents poured into police hotlines, prompting the Israel Defense Forces to clarify it was a training drill. Many Israelis went on social media and criticized the fact that there was no early notice in the media - particularly in light of Iran's recent threats to exact revenge on Israel for the strike in Syria.
The IDF usually notifies the public regarding training drills involving increased military activity.
In the past days, the Israeli Air Force has been rehearsing for Independence Day as part of its annual training exercise.
The rehearsals are taking place as part of the Air Force's aim to ensure safe and dignified 70th Independence Day celebrations. As part of its training, Israeli Air Force planes will be felt in the skies across the country.
On Tuesday, Israel was put on high alert after Tehran said its "crime won’t go unanswered,” referring to the airstrike on the Syrian T-4 base attributed to Israel by Russia.
- Israel on high alert, prepares for possible Iranian retaliation after strike on Syrian air force base
- Syria tensions: Unannounced Air Force flyover terrifies central Israel
- In Holocaust memorial speech, Netanyahu threatens Iran: Don't test Israel's resolve
Concurrently, Western countries have discussed a military response to a a suspected chemical attack in a Damascus suburb town that reportedly killed dozens of citizens. The Kremlin, Syria's strongest ally, responded it would shoot down any missile fired at Syria and would also target its launching site, raising probability of a larger-scale confrontation in the region.
U.S. President Trump responded by tweeting that America's missiles were "coming". Russian President Vladimir Putin has since discussed the matter with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, urging him not to take action in Syria.