French plane carrying Arafat had to skirt Israel

29th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 29 (AFP) - A French jet carrying ailing Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to Paris for emergency medical treatment was forced to skirt around Israeli airspace Friday because of lack of authorisation, the French defence ministry said.

PARIS, Oct 29 (AFP) - A French jet carrying ailing Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to Paris for emergency medical treatment was forced to skirt around Israeli airspace Friday because of lack of authorisation, the French defence ministry said.  

"France does not have a permanent overflight agreement" with the Jewish state, a spokesman said.  

Earlier, a ministry source said Paris had been hoping that Israel would allow the Dassault Falcon aircraft transporting Arafat from the Jordanian capital Amman to fly through its airspace.  

"This would be easier than turning south and going through Egypt because that would extend the trip by more than a half hour," he said.  

French officials said before the re-routed flight that they expected the jet to land at a military airport outside Paris around midday.

Arafat is to be taken to the nearby Percy military hospital at Clamart for treatment.  

According to one of his doctors, the Palestinian leader is suffering a potentially fatal disorder in which his white blood cells were destroying blood platelets needed for blood clotting.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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