Israeli jets in German ship incident 'were training'

27th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

27 October 2006, Tel Aviv (dpa) - The Israeli military said Friday that the Israeli fighter jets which threatened a German naval ship earlier this week were on a training mission. The Israeli military was using a corridor for training flights, around 45 nautical miles (83 kilometres) from the north coast of Israel, Israeli air force sources said. An Israeli military spokesman had acknowledged Friday that the ship was in international waters at the time of the incident, correcting an earlier statement that

27 October 2006

Tel Aviv (dpa) - The Israeli military said Friday that the Israeli fighter jets which threatened a German naval ship earlier this week were on a training mission.

The Israeli military was using a corridor for training flights, around 45 nautical miles (83 kilometres) from the north coast of Israel, Israeli air force sources said.

An Israeli military spokesman had acknowledged Friday that the ship was in international waters at the time of the incident, correcting an earlier statement that the ship had been near the Israeli-Lebanese border, opposite the Israeli border town of Rosh Ha'Nikra.

Israel had said on Wednesday that it directed fighter jets toward the ship when a helicopter took off from it without prior coordination with the Israeli military, which identified the chopper as a "potential security threat."

The German Defence Ministry said six jets flew low over over the vessel Tuesday, launched infrared decoys and fired two warning shots into the air, forcing the helicopter to land back onto the ship.

The Israeli military continued Friday to vehemently deny having fired any warning shots near the ship. "No ammunition of any kind," had been fired, said a spokeswoman.

The military had earlier said the jets might have given off only chaff - strips of metal foil obstructing detection by radar - which it said its pilots did as a standard procedure when flying toward Lebanon.

The military also said that an Israeli newspaper report, which had said that the helicopter had failed to activate its identification system, was incorrect. Both the helicopter's identification system and radio were operating at the time of the incident Tuesday morning, clarified the army spokesman.

The German vessel is part of the United Nations peacekeeping force observing an August 14 ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah and overseeing a weapons embargo against the militant Shiite movement.

DPA

Subject: German news

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