Israel opens new Eilat airport, angering Jordan

Ramon Airport is about 18 kilometers from the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat and the adjacent Jordanian port of Aqaba, above. (AFP)
Updated 22 January 2019
0

Israel opens new Eilat airport, angering Jordan

  • Initially Ramon Airport will handle only domestic flights, operated by Israeli carriers Arkia and Israir
  • A date has not yet been given for the start of international flights

JERUSALEM: Jordan on Monday hit out at Israel’s move to open a new international airport along their shared border close to the Red Sea, saying it would threaten the kingdom’s airspace.
“Jordan rejects the establishment of the Israeli airport in its current location,” head of Jordan’s Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission Haitham Misto said, according to state media.
Misto said the airport violated “international standards regarding respect for the sovereignty of airspace and territory of other countries.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the opening ceremony earlier in the day of the Ramon Airport, meant to boost tourism in the Jewish state and serve as an emergency alternative to Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airport.
Initially, the sleek new terminal will handle only domestic flights operated by Israeli carriers. A date has not yet been set for the start of international flights.
Jordan first voiced its objection to the new Israeli airport when construction began in 2013.
The airport sits just across the border from Jordan’s King Hussein International Airport in the Red Sea city of Aqaba.
Misto said Jordan had notified the International Civil Aviation Organization of “the kingdom’s strong objection.”
The kingdom, he said, had called on the ICAO to “take all necessary measures to ensure that Israel complies with international standards.”
Misto said the committee had been in touch with Israel’s civil aviation authority, and “informed them that the decision to operate the airport should not be taken unilaterally until all outstanding matters are resolved.”
Jordan “reserves all options to ensure the defense of the kingdom’s interests and protection,” he added.
The new airport is named after Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who was killed in the 2003 Columbia space shuttle explosion, and his son Assaf, an Israeli Air Force pilot who died in a training accident in 2009.
A date has not yet been given for the start of international flights.
Construction costs for the new airport have been put at 1.7 billion shekels ($455 million)


Daesh militants kill 7 US-backed fighters in Syria: commanders

Updated 44 sec ago
0

Daesh militants kill 7 US-backed fighters in Syria: commanders

  • Manbij is a former Daesh stronghold that is now ruled by a military council affiliated with the Syrian Democratic Forces
  • Daesh has vowed to carry out revenge attacks against the SDF

BEIRUT: Daesh militants killed seven US-backed fighters in the northern Syrian city of Manbij, its military council said on Tuesday, days after the group’s “caliphate” was declared defeated.

Daesh has claimed the Manbij attack. Manbij is a former Daesh stronghold that is now ruled by a military council affiliated with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the US-backed Kurdish-led alliance which declared victory over Daesh in its last redoubt in eastern Syria on Saturday.
At around midnight (2200 GMT) on Monday, gunmen opened fire at fighters manning a checkpoint at the entrance to the city, killing seven, the council said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Council spokesman Sherfan Darwish said it could be a revenge attack by Daesh sleeper cells.
“After the victory over IS, we have entered the phase of sleeper cells,” Darwish said.
“These sleeper cells are being activated and carrying out attacks but we will foil their operations.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor of the war, said the attack was probably the work of Daesh, which would make it “the first attack of its kind” since the SDF declared the defeat of the caliphate last week.
Observatory head Rami Abdul Rahman said it was also the bloodiest attack in Manbij since January 16, when 19 people, including four US service personnel, were killed in a suicide bombing claimed by Daesh.
Daesh has vowed to carry out revenge attacks against the SDF for the six-month offensive which culminated in the militants’ defeat in the village of Baghouz, close to the Iraqi border, on Saturday.
The Observatory said hundreds of SDF members had been killed in attacks believed to have been carried out by Daesh sleeper cells since August.
Manbij is also a major point of contention between the Kurds, who lead the SDF, and neighboring Turkey, which is deeply opposed to their autonomous administration in northeastern and parts of northern Syria.
The city is one of the few areas west of the Euphrates that remains under Kurdish influence after Turkish troops and their Syrian rebel allies overran the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in March last year.
In December, Ankara threatened to launch a new offensive to dislodge the People’s Protection Units (YPG) — the Kurdish force that forms the backbone of the SDF — from the entire length of the border.
The YPG is considered a terrorist group by Ankara because of its links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the outlawed rebel group that has fought a deadly insurgency for self-rule in southeastern Turkey since 1984.