Government imposes blackout on all information about Israeli military planes in Britain

After revealing nine Israeli Air Force planes landed in Britain in the four months after October 7, the Ministry of Defence changes policy and refuses to give any new information, possibly to protect UK ministers from prosecution.

30 April 2024
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps is concealing all information about Israeli military planes landing in Britain. (Photo: PA Images / Alamy)

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps is concealing all information about Israeli military planes landing in Britain. (Photo: PA Images / Alamy)

  • Defence minister tells parliament “the MoD does not offer comment or information” about Israeli military operations in Britain
  • Declassified independently found Israeli military jets have landed in four locations in the UK since Gaza bombing began
  • British MP told his parliamentary question is “subject to a block by government”

The British government has imposed a block on all information about Israeli military planes landing in the UK.

Amidst speculation that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is set to issue arrest warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers, the new blackout could be intended to protect British ministers from possible prosecution for complicity in war crimes, including defence secretary Grant Shapps. 

Kenny MacAskill, Alba MP for East Lothian, asked last week how many Israeli Air Force (IAF) planes had landed and taken off from Britain since October 7.

Shapp’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) responded: “For operational security reasons and as a matter of policy, the MoD does not offer comment or information relating to foreign nations’ military aircraft movements or operations.”

However, this is a new policy. MacAskill had asked the same question in February and the MoD revealed that nine IAF planes had visited the UK over the previous four months. 

MacAskill told Declassified that the MoD had also now imposed a block on parliamentarians even asking questions about Israeli military operations involving UK territory.

When he put down the question he asked in February again last week it was rejected. “Your question has been queried because it is subject to a block by Government,” he was told in a highly unusual move.

MacAskill was advised that the government had updated its policy on 18 April and his question was no longer permissible. 

This meant the MP, a former Scottish justice secretary, could no longer ask about Israeli planes in the UK on military operations. 

He was eventually able to ask the question but only about Israeli Air Force operated planes in Britain “on non-military operations”, a proviso that the MoD had not previously required. 


UK admits nine Israeli military planes have visited Britain since...


Nine planes

The latest blackout follows months of the British government trying to cover up its role in the criminal Israeli assault on Gaza.

The MoD had originally refused to provide any information about Israeli military planes in Britain. 

But Declassified independently discovered IAF aircraft had landed in Glasgow, Birmingham as well as RAF bases in Suffolk and Oxfordshire since 7 October.

After Declassified’s revelations, the UK government changed its policy. 

The first Israeli flight we discovered departed from Glasgow Prestwick airport on 18 November last year although its arrival does not appear to have been registered. 

The flight, numbered IAF680, took off from Scotland just after 1pm and landed in Beersheba, Israel, around 5 hours later.

In the aftermath of Declassified’s story, the Scottish government said it will no longer allow IAF planes to land at Prestwick airport. 

“The Israeli Air Force does not and has never used the airport as a base,” it said. “It has not visited Prestwick since November 2023 and the airport has since taken the independent decision not to conduct further business with the Israeli Air Force.”


Exclusive: Israeli military planes have landed at four locations in...


A second block

Blocking a question is highly unusual, but is the second time MacAskill has experienced it as he has tried to prise information from the UK government about its role in Gaza.

In November, the MoD took the extraordinary step of censoring all requests for information by MPs about RAF Akrotiri, the UK’s major military base on Cyprus, after Declassified reported it was facilitating arms supplies to Israel’s war on Gaza.

MacAskill told Declassified: “As an iron dome came down to protect Israel from missiles, an iron curtain has descended to hide British complicity. Legitimate questions about Israeli actions from British territory are being denied.” 

He added: “As the genocide in Gaza worsens, so does democratic scrutiny in the UK. What is being done in our name that they were willing to tell us the information weeks ago but deny us it now?”