Egyptian helicopter invades Israel's airspace - Israel News, Ynetnews

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Archive photo Photo: AFP
Archive photo Photo: AFP
F-16 called up Photo: EPA
F-16 called up Photo: EPA

Egyptian helicopter invades Israel's airspace

Pilot flies over Negev for 25 minutes, refuses to answer radio; retracts steps only after IAF fighter jets fire warning shots

Yossi Yehoshua
Published: 11.03.11, 11:04 / Israel News

An Egyptian helicopter on Sunday entered Israeli airspace without authorization, and refused to leave for 25 minutes, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Thursday.


The incident occurred at 5pm, when a mi-8 model helicopter crossed the Israeli-Egypt border near Eilat and continued to fly over the Negev. Four F-16 fighter jets were called up from Nevatim and Ovda airbases. The pilots attempted to contact the Egyptian pilot over the radio, but to no avail.


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Only after the IAF jets fired warning shots, the pilot retracted his steps and returned to Egypt.


"The pilot was flying at a low speed, and didn’t respond over the radio," said an Air Force official, adding that the reasons behind his excursion were still unclear, but that all possibilities were being examined, including an intelligence gathering mission or an unintentional error.


The official added that the Air Force views this incident with the fullest gravity, noting that they have never encountered a similar situation.


Immediately following the incident, Israel's security establishment filed a complaint with Egypt through the appropriate channels.




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