Anti-Israel protesters delay El Al flight in Athens
An Israel-bound flight was delayed for about two hours at Athens International Airport Wednesday after protesters against the blockade of Gaza blocked check-in counters, airport officials said.
Members of a Communist-backed labor union said they blocked five El Al airline counters for two hours to protest the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the Jewish state's oppressive policies.
"This was an action taken in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their effort to establish a Palestinian state," union spokesman Giorgos Pontikos told the AP. He said police were present at the protest but did not intervene.
An El Al spokesman said in response to the incident that airline "considers flight safety and the safety of its passengers as its foremost values and will not compromise those in any way," saying that "at no time were the passengers in danger."
Wednesday's protest occurred as a Libya-chartered ship carrying aid to the Gaza Strip was due to sail to an Egyptian port to avoid challenging an Israeli naval blockade of the Palestinian territory.
Athens airport officials said El Al flight 542 to Tel Aviv departed from Athens two hours after the scheduled time, at 12:30 (0930GMT) after the protest ended without incident.