Tensions were heightened on Monday as IDF fighter planes scrambled towards an Egyptian reconnaissance helicopter which had crossed into Israeli airspace over the Gaza Strip. Initial estimates allay fears of any hostile intent and indicate the incident was likely due to pilot error.
The aircraft was spotted by Israeli forces after it crossed the aerial border. Air Force jets were scrambled to intercept the helicopter and escort it back to Egyptian airspace. Military liaisons from both Israel and Egypt are currently reviewing the incident.
The interception and escort protocol is employed in any situation wherein a foreign aircraft enters Israeli airspace unannounced and air traffic control has difficulty establishing contact with the pilot or determining the aircraft's origin.
In November 2007 Israeli jets intercepted Continental Airlines' Flight 90 after it failed to identify itself upon
entering Israeli airspace.
The fighters escorted the plane back over the Mediterranean Sea until communications were restored.
The plane, a Boeing 777, was on a scheduled flight from Newark, New Jersey in the United States. All passengers and crew disembarked safely, Israeli officials said.