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United, Delta, US Airways resume flights to Israel following lifting of US prohibition

Israelis airport workers pass a sign pointing to a shelter for refuge in case a warning siren at Ben Gurion International airport in Tel Aviv. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Dan Balilty

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Israelis airport workers pass a sign pointing to a shelter for refuge in case a warning siren at Ben Gurion International airport in Tel Aviv. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Dan Balilty

NEW YORK, N.Y. - All three U.S. airlines serving Israel will resume flights there Thursday, following a two-day hiatus caused by combat in the Gaza Strip.

United Airlines was the first to announce the resumption of flights. The decision came hours after the Federal Aviation Administration lifted its ban on U.S. flights in and out of Israel, which the agency had imposed out of concern for the risk of planes being hit by Hamas rockets.

The Chicago-based airline says it will resume service to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv with a 4:45 p.m. eastern flight from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. A second United flight will leave Newark at 10:50 p.m. eastern.

Delta Air Lines will also resume its once-daily service to Tel Aviv Thursday night with an 11:57 p.m. flight from New York.

"The decision comes after careful internal consideration and input from high levels in government including the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Transportation. The FAA has informed Delta that Ben Gurion International Airport is safe for operations," the airline said in a statement.

US Airways is also restarting its one daily flight, which departs Philadelphia at 9:10 p.m.

"We will continue to monitor the situation closely and adjust our plans if necessary," US Airways' parent company American Airlines said in a statement.

Last year, an average of 1,044 passengers flew each way on the four daily flights between the U.S. and Israel on American carriers, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Israeli airline El Al maintained its five daily flights from the U.S. to Tel Aviv throughout the ban, which only applied to American carriers.

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