FAA lifts ban on US flights to Israel
A departure time flight board displays various cancellations as passengers stand nearby at Ben Gurion International airport in Tel AvivReuters

Europe's aviation authority said it is to rescind a warning issued to airlines not to fly to Tel Aviv due to safety concerns related to the ongoing conflict in the area.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) tweeted:

The decision came despite continuing fighting in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli military said that two rockets launched by Hamas have been intercepted over Tel Aviv.

Earlier, US state department spokeswoman Marie Harf also warned that the Palestinian militant group had rockets that could reach Ben Gurion International Airport, although their accuracy is limited.

The EASA warned airlines against flying to the Israeli city, after a rocket fired from Gaza landed near the airport.

As a consequence numerous major European airlines, including KLM, Alitalia, EasyJet, Lufthansa and Air France, cancelled all flights to and from Ben Gurion.

The EASA's US counterpart, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), took an even stronger precautionary measure, banning all American-based airlines from flying there. The ban was also lifted today.

The FAA said: "Before making this decision, the FAA worked with its US government counterparts to assess the security situation in Israel and carefully reviewed both significant new information and measures the Government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation."

"The FAA's primary mission and interest are the protection of people travelling on US airlines. The agency will continue to closely monitor the very fluid situation around Ben Gurion Airport and will take additional actions, as necessary."

Delta, United Airlines and US Airways are the only American carriers that go to Ben Gurion.

EASA and FAA's precautionary measures drew some criticism, including from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who accused the aviation authorities of handing Palestinian militant group Hamas "an undeserved victory".

Before the FAA ban was lifted, Delta Air Lines said they will not necessarily resume flights to Israel even if authorities declare the area safe.

"We appreciate the advice and consent and the intelligence we get, but we have a duty and an obligation above and beyond that to independently make the right decisions for our employees and passengers," CEO Richard Anderson said.

"Even if they lift [the ban] ... we still may not go in depending on what the facts and circumstances are.

"We will evaluate the information we have and we will make the judgment that our passengers and employees rely on us to make for them every day."