Israeli Warplanes Come 'Dangerously' Close to Ryanair Jet in Jerusalem Skies

The IDF, Transportation Ministry and Civilian Aviation Authority are investigating how two warplanes came too close to a passenger jet during an air force training session.

An Israeli warplane pictured in 2013.
Ilan Assayag

In an unusual incident in Israel's skies, two warplanes came "dangerously" close on Tuesday afternoon to a civilian aircraft, in the course of an air force training session.

The incident is considered unusual due to the involvement of military warplanes as well as civilian aircraft.

The incident occurred in the Jerusalem region, when two F-16I jets entered what is defined by the Israel Air Force as "dangerous proximity" with a Ryanair jet, the low-cost Irish airline, during a training exercise. The planes came within 3 miles of each other. 

The IDF is investigating the circumstances of the case together with the Transportation Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority.

Ryanair responded to the incident on Wednesday, saying that "the reports of a 'nearly crash' or 'evasive manoeuvres' are all false and invented."

According to the airline, the military aircraft were never within three miles of the flight from Krakow and that the passengers didn't notice anything. 

"This flight from Krakow to Eilat Ovda (1 Mar) was cruising at 27,000 ft in Israeli airspace when two military aircraft (over three miles away) were noticed by the crew ascending towards the Ryanair aircraft flight path," said the airline. "The crew notified local ATC and the military aircraft descended away from the Ryanair jet, which continued on to Eilat Ovda and landed without incident."