Germany's two largest airlines and Air France said they were extending a suspension of all their flights to Tel Aviv due to safety concerns related to the ongoing conflict in the area.

Lufthansa and Air Berlin said they were cancelling all flights scheduled to depart or arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport in the next 24 hours.

The two companies were among numerous air carriers that have decided to take the precautionary measure after a rocket fired from Gaza landed near the Israeli airport.

"At the present time, no adequate authoritative new information is available that would justify a resumption of flights," Lufthansa said. "We regret the discomfort this decision causes our customers, whose safety is our highest priority."

Lufthansa's decision also applied to all flights operated by its subsidiaries: Germanwings, Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Brussels Airlines.

Similarly, Air France said it was suspending its flights "until further notice".

The European Aviation Safety Agency strongly recommended that airlines should not fly to Tel Aviv after its US counterpart, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), banned all American-based airlines from flying there.

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

The decision drew some criticism, including from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg, a media mogul and one of America's richest men, said the FAA's flight restriction was indirectly handing Palestinian militant group Hamas "an undeserved victory".

"I strongly urge the FAA to reverse course and permit US airlines to fly to Israel," Bloomberg said, adding he was to take an El Al flight from New York to Tel Aviv to show the airport was safe.

Bloomberg tweeted:

Flight LY 8, operated by the Israeli airline, took off from New York's JFK airport on Tuesday evening and successfully landed at Ben Gurion. Bloomberg tweeted:

Airlines are increasingly cautious following the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine by suspected pro-Russian rebels.

Other European airlines - KLM, Alitalia, easyJet and Scandinavian Airlines - had cancelled flights earlier this week.