Flight to Israel nearly sabotaged by ‘hostile elements’

It was feared there was an attempt to sabotage the plane and lead it to a hazardous area or conduct a kidnapping.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

For the second time in a week a flight headed to Israel was interfered with by ‘hostile elements’ that overtook an El Al plane’s communication network.

On Saturday night, an interference in communication nearly diverted a plane leaving from Phuket to Ben Gurion from its flight path.

Earlier in the week, the same thing happened on a flight from Bangkok to Ben Gurion, according to Kan Reshet B.

The communication became disrupted over an area where the Houthi terrorists operate, although Somali officials told Kan that the threat came from Somaliland, a de facto state that just signed an agreement with Ethiopia.

During the flight, staff received instructions that were contrary to what they had expected, and it was feared that there was an attempt to sabotage the flight and the plane, lead it to a hazardous area or even to conduct a kidnapping.

When the flight staff realized this, they ignored the instructions and checked them against those of reliable air traffic controllers.

A source from El Al reported to Walla, “In Somalia, there have been communication interruptions all week, not only for El Al planes, and the official authorities have issued instructions to all pilots that as soon as this happens with a certain frequency, not to listen to the instructions and to switch to another communication method.”

The El Al sourced continued, “Our pilots are instructed on how to deal with this incident, such as the problematic frequency, and how to handle the flight professionally when it happens.”

El Al released a statement emphasizing that El Al planes were not being specifically targeted.

“The disturbances are not aimed at El Al planes and this is not a security incident.”

It continued, “The disruption did not affect the normal course of the flight thanks to the professionalism of the pilots who used the alternative means of communication and allowed the flight to continue on the planned route.”