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How Israeli fighter pilots threatened to blast Tony Blair’s jet out of sky

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24 05 08 - 00:33
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.
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"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
"

From William Shakespeare's "Macbeth"