Israeli PM Netanyahu’s plane is damaged in a crash ahead of take-off in Poland

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been forced to extend his stay in Warsaw for an extra day after a pushback tractor crashed into his plane just as it was about to take off.

According to El Al, the prime minister’s plane, a Boeing 777, was damaged by a pushback tractor that crashed into it as Netanyahu was about to leave just after midnight.

The 69-year-old leader and his entire entourage were on-board the chartered El Al plane when a vehicle towing the aircraft on the runway crashed into it at Warsaw airport.

Netanyahu, his wife and senior staff, returned to the Warsaw Intercontinental, where they had been staying since Tuesday. Traveling press were being put up in a hotel near the military airport.

According to El Al, the airline operating the PM’s plane, the tug slammed against the landing gear of the plane and seriously damaged it as apparently the tow bar snapped.

The technicians looked into the damage and decided that the plane can’t take off yet.

Netanyahu and his wife were taken off the plane and ushered back to their hotel where they stayed the night before flying out today at around noon.

Other aides, including Netanyahu’s national security adviser and his military secretary, spent the night on the aircraft, saying they did not want to go through the hassle of pre-boarding security checks again.

A replacement plane was dispatched from Israel to urgently return the prime minster before the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath at sundown.

An official with Netanyahu’s office said the new flight was expected to leave Warsaw at around 9:30 a.m.

Netanyahu would likely need to take off before late Friday morning to make it back to Israel before sundown and the start of the Jewish day of rest.

Netanyahu does not have his own plane, but charters jets from the national El-Al carrier which are then outfitted for his needs. The government is in the process of purchasing an official plane for use by the prime minister.

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