Friday, May 23, 2008
The Times reports:
Tony Blair came within moments of being killed when two Israeli fighter aircraft threatened to shoot down a private jet taking him to a Middle East conference in the belief that it might have been staging a terrorist attack.
The warplanes were scrambled to intercept after the jet pilot failed to contact air traffic control. Mr Blair, the international community’s envoy to the Middle East, was flying from the World Economic Forum (WEF) summit in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to attend a major conference on private investment in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem.
The Israeli aircraft used to intercept Mr Blair’s plane would have been versions of the F16 or F15, armed with Shafrir and Python air-to-air missiles. Both missiles have proved to be devastatingly effective and versatile. The Shafrir 2 missile shot down nearly 100 aircraft in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.
There have been some ironic ends to controversial political figures of the past.
But the killing of the most pro-US, pro-Israel British Prime Minister in history by US-made fighter aircraft of the Israeli airforce would surely have been the most ironic of them all.