El Al Rescues Israelis in Georgia

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - At the request of Israel's Foreign Ministry, an El Al airliner left Tuesday morning to rescue stranded by Russia's attack on the Republic of Georgia.

If possible, the Boeing 757 will land at Tbilisi International Airport, El Al Captain Lior Yavor told Army Radio, who said he hopes the airport is able to handle aircraft.

Arkia Airlines, which normally flies a Friday commuter flight to Georgia, said Russian warplanes destroyed the airport's radar system, so it would be unable to fly more than 100 of the estimated 230 Israelis wanting to leave the war-torn area.

If the El Al crew cannot land at the Tbilisi airport, they will fly to neighboring Azerbaijan or Armenia.

Israeli tourists and businessmen will be transported to either airport in an armored convoy.

According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Eddie Shapira, the ministry has tried to contact some 300 Israelis visiting Georgia.

"We are, of course, not forcing anyone to leave, but we will advise all the Israelis we are in contact with to evacuate," he said.

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz

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