Scare in north – unidentified plane prompts quick Air Force response
Scare in the north: The Air Force dispatched Saturday afternoon jets and gunships to the north of the country, after the pilot of a light plane failed to identify himself after taking off.
Northern residents reported seeing heavy traffic of IDF aircraft in the north in the wake of the incident. Ynet received numerous reports of residents describing jets hovering above the Haifa area.
One witness said that he saw an F-16 jet hovering above the shoreline for nearly 20 minutes, along with a gunship. Similar reports were received from residents in the Carmel and western Galilee regions.
The aircraft were dispatched to the western sector of the northern border after the unidentified plane was spotted within Israel's airspace. The army said that a short while later, the pilot contacted air traffic control, prompting the military aircraft to return to their base.
The IDF said that the "incident ended after it turned out that there was no threat." Ynet learned that the pilot flying the suspected plane was Israeli.
IDF on high alertThe army has been maintaining a high alert level in the north for fears that Hizbullah may attempt to stage a revenge attack for the killing of its top military commander, Imad Mugniyah. The terror group attributed the assassination to Israel. The high alert level may explain the army's rapid response to the perceived threat.
Israeli security officials have estimated that Hizbullah, with the assistance of Iran and Syria, is planning a major terror attack or a missile and rocket strike to avenge Mugniyah's killing.
According to Arab media reports, Syria has started to reinforce its military presence on Lebanon's border two weeks ago and has also boosted the alert level of its missile and rocket units.
Ahiya Raved contributed to the report