Russian warplane said to come dangerously close to Israir flight

A Russian fighter jet reportedly came with a mile of an Israeli passenger aircraft before being warned off by Cypriot air controllers, the Ynet news site reported after midnight Sunday.

The incident occurred Sunday afternoon when the Russian Sukhoi Su-27 approached and flew alongside an Israir Airbus A320 flying from the Greek island of Rhodes to Tel Aviv, Ynet said.

According to the report the jet flew alongside the passenger aircraft for more than a minute at a distance considered unsafe before air traffic controllers in Cyprus warned it away.

The report said that at no time was the aircraft or passengers in danger. It was unclear if the incident was deliberate or just a misunderstanding.

Illustrative: View of an Israir flight taking off from Ben Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv. September 3, 2015 (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

There was no immediate comment from Israir.

Russia has fighter aircraft stationed in nearby Syria, where it is assisting the Assad regime in the civil war, leading to crowded skies in the region where Israeli, Turkish and coalition military aircraft also operate, alongside civilian planes.

In this file photo taken on Friday, March 4, 2016, Russian Su-27 fighter jets and Su-34 bomber, right in the back, are parked at Hemeimeem air base in Syria. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)

The most serious incident occurred in 2018, when Syrian air defense responding to an Israeli strike accidentally shot down a Russian military reconnaissance plane with 15 people on board.

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