Page last updated at 22:10 GMT, Thursday, 22 May 2008 23:10 UK

Blair jet faced Israeli warplanes

Tony Blair
Tony Blair has been the Middle East envoy for the Quartet for 11 months

Israeli fighter aircraft were scrambled to intercept a jet carrying former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair after its crew failed to identify themselves.

Aircrew used the radio to explain who they were after the two warplanes adopted an attack position, prompting them to peel off and return to base.

Mr Blair was en route to Israel from a World Economic Forum meeting at Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt on Wednesday.

He is the Middle East envoy for the Quartet of major powers.

Mr Blair has been in the role for the last 11 months.

A spokesman for the former prime minister said: "Mr Blair was one of a number of delegates on a flight back from the World Economic Forum in Sharm El Sheikh.

"We were not aware of any problem at the time, and have not been notified of any issue with the flight."

Israel's air defence system is one of the strictest in the world and warplanes are often scrambled for false alarms.

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