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By David M. Bresnahan

July 6, 2002


MOSCOW -- An El Al airline pilot reported that a missile was fired at his Israeli commercial airline loaded with civilian passengers Thursday.


The flight landed safely in Moscow when a missile was launched at the plane. The pilot reported that it missed the plane exploding about a mile away. 


The plane took off from Tel Aviv and landed safely in Moscow, according to a report by Middle East Newsline. The incident has been virtually ignored by other media.


El Al officials acknowledged the incident, but Russian authorities have not reported a missile launch and have not commented on the report.

Just one year ago a Russian plane filled with Israeli civilians was shot down by a missile over Ukraine. That incident was reported as an accidental shooting.

Arab and Islamic terrorist groups have often targeted El Al, but tight security has made it impossible for hijackers to actually get on Israeli flights. The only successful hijacking of an El Al flight took place in 1968. Since that time terrorists have resorted to attacks in airport terminals, and perhaps by firing missiles.

Also this past Thursday, an Egyptian gunman shot and killed two people and was then himself killed by a El Al security guard at the Los Angeles International Airport terminal. Israelis say the attack is similar to those that have taken place in other airports by terrorists. U.S. officials have yet to call it a terrorist attack.

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David M. Bresnahan  is an award-winning independent investigative journalist. He maintains an archive of his work at  and offers a free e-mail alert so you will not miss any of his news stories or commentaries.