from usa today: Israeli fighters buzzed an American jet this afternoon after the civilian aircraft failed to check in with the airport on its approach to Israel.
"This was the closest we ever came to intercepting a civilian airplane," a military officer tells the Jerusalem Post.
The paper says Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his top generals were put on alert in case they had to authorize the military pilots to shoot down the Continental Airlines flight, carrying 273 people, as it approached Israeli airspace.
The fighter jets conducted a visual inspection when the plane was within five minutes of Tel Aviv.
"From the moment that we lost contact with (the jet) we treated the incident as a possible terror act. When the fighter jets approached the plane, they guided it west. It contacted us and that's how we were sure it was not a terror attempt," a source tells Ynet News.
related: the loss of uss liberty