MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Federal Aviation Administration suspended U.S. flights to Israel for 24 hours after a rocket fell near the Tel Aviv airport.

Fighting between Israelis and Hamas militants has led to safety concerns for anyone traveling to Israel.

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And Israel isn’t the only war-torn country right now. The FAA said there’s a good reason U.S. airlines aren’t allowed to fly to certain countries.

In April they issued what’s called a “NOTAM” or “Notice to Airmen,” prohibiting airplanes from flying over Ukraine. A 24-hour NOTAM was issued Tuesday for Israel.

“These come out actually on a daily and sometimes hourly basis,” said Keith Mackey, an air safety consultant and a former airline captain.

He says NOTAMs have long been in place for countries like North Korea, Somalia and other places considered too dangerous for American airplanes. But he calls what happened in Ukraine a game changer.

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“People didn’t realize that rebels, or people without a lot of sophistication, had acquired weapons that were capable of shooting any aircraft out of the sky up to about 80,000 feet,” Mackey said.

He says that distance covers all commercial flights. And without knowing who else has those weapons, he says future NOTAMs are likely for U.S. airlines — and other countries may be forced to follow suit.

“So now we’ve got great segments of the sky that really have the potential of being unsafe, and the industry is going to have to deal with this,” he said.

Mackey says some countries choose to take the risk and let their airlines fly over war-torn countries because it’s too expensive to go around.

We actually have some “no-fly” zones here in the U.S., like the District of Columbia and military testing sites, for obvious reasons.

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Some planes are also not allowed to fly over nuclear power plants.

John Lauritsen