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A British Airways plane had to return to London before landing in Tel Aviv

A British Airways plane had to return to London before landing in Tel Aviv

(CNN) — A British Airways flight from London to Tel Aviv made a surprise U-turn shortly before landing in the Israeli city on Wednesday, after the airline canceled all flights to that city amid safety concerns.

Flight BA165 from London Heathrow Airport was approaching Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv when it was called back to the city of origin, according to the plane’s tracking website. Aviation Radar24.

British Airways confirmed to CNN that the flight was canceled shortly before landing in the northern Israeli city, which has been the target of rocket attacks as heavy fighting erupts between Israeli forces and Hamas.

The airline said it suspended its services to and from Tel Aviv on Wednesday afternoon.

“Safety is always our top priority, and after a recent assessment of the situation, we will suspend our flights to and from Tel Aviv,” he said in a statement to CNN.

The airline said it is contacting customers who have reservations for travel to and from Tel Aviv to apologize for the inconvenience and is offering them options including a refund or changing their reservation to another airline.

He stressed: “We are closely monitoring the situation in the region.” British Airways did not say when flights would resume.

What are other airlines doing?

Many other international airlines with flights to Tel Aviv suspended their services as the attacks intensified.

Virgin Atlantic and US airlines including Delta, United and American Airlines have canceled flights or connections in recent days.

At the same time, several countries have added special repatriation flights to transport their citizens from Israel.

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With information from Barry Nield.