A bodyguard providing protection for Tony Blair had to be rushed on to his plane at an Israeli airport after one of his British bodyguards accidentally fired his gun causing a security scare. Nobody was hurt in the incident at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport and Mr Blair’s spokesman said the former Prime Minister had not heard the gunshot. But an Israeli police spokesman said that in the confusion Mr Blair was hurried on to his plane.
Accidental discharges are taken extremely seriously in Israel and its Airports Authority has launched an inquiry. “One of his bodyguards accidentally fired his gun, and the bullet hit the ground,” said, Maayan Malkin, an IAA spokesman.
The incident took place as Mr Blair was leaving Ben Gurion, the main international airport in Israel, after spending a few days in the country in his capacity as international envoy for Palestinian development. Since being appointed as Middle East representative for the Quartet – the diplomatic grouping of America, Russia, the United Nations and European Union – Mr Blair has visited many times using commercial and private flights. Earlier this year Israeli fighter planes intercepted a private jet carrying Mr Blair after the plane failed to identify itself adequately as it approached Israeli airspace. In June an official farewell on the tarmac at Ben Gurion for Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, ended in chaos after an Israeli policeman guarding the event shot himself dead.
In September another of Mr Blair’s bodyguards left their gun in the lavatory of a Starbuck’s coffee shop near his London home.