"Following information received by the Israel Defense Forces about a
bomb planted on an El Al passenger plane arriving in Israel today from
Paris, senior members of the IDF General Staff manned central positions,
which enabled them to track events as they unfolded," an Israeli military
statement said on Sept. 24. "Additionally, the Israel Air Force and the Home
Front Command were placed on high alert, as is customary in such instances."
Israel Air Force F-15 and F-16 fighters escorted the El Al jet once it
entered Israeli air space. The passenger plane landed at 8 p.m. and was
searched by a bomb disposal unit.
"The bomb threat was found to be baseless," the military said.
Hours earlier, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert convened a Cabinet committee
to discuss reports of imminent threats against Israeli interests abroad. The National
Security Council has warned of Al Qaida and Hizbullah plots to abduct or
"Government bodies are making every effort to map the threats and warn
against them," a Cabinet statement said. "However, it is the
responsibility — first and foremost — of every citizen who travels abroad
to keep far away from dangerous areas and to take obligatory
Officials said Hizbullah was coordinating with Al Qaida and Hamas to
abduct Israeli tourists in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. They said the abduction
plot was one of several Hizbullah options designed to avenge the
assassination of operations chief Imad Mughniyeh in February 2008.
Another threat was said to stem from Palestinian insurgents in the West
Bank and Gaza Strip. On Sept. 19, four Palestinians infiltrated a major
Israel Air Force base in the Negev desert without being detected.
Officials acknowledged that the Palestinians, later identified as
residents of the Hebron area who sought employment, bypassed chain link
fences, video cameras and patrols to enter the Nevatim air base. Israeli
officers and airmen saw the Palestinians wander through air and weapons
hangers, but failed to inform security forces.
In the end, an Israeli contractor reported the Palestinians to the base
commander. The Palestinians were arrested by police.
"This incident will be investigated in depth by the air force, and
lessons will be learned to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the
future," a military spokesman said.