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Trump cancels Israel fortress speech over helicopter landing restrictions Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Trump cancels Israel fortress speech over helicopter landing restrictions

A helicopter landing at Masada in 1997 damaged the historic ruins [AFP]

Date of publication: 19 May, 2017

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A scheduled speech at the hilltop site of the ancient Masada fortress in Israel cancelled after Trump team told that helicopters are banned from the area.

US President Donald Trump has reportedly cancelled a speech at an ancient site in Israel because his helicopter was denied permission to land there.

Newsweek
, citing Israel's Channel 2, reported that the president declined to have the helicopter land at a nearby airbase, where he would be required to take a cable car up to the historic site.

Helicopters are not allowed to land at the Masada fortress, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to the dust created by spinning propellers.

An Israeli Air Force landing at the ancient site in 1997 generated enough wind to damage the ruins.

It is expected that Trump will replace the Masada trip with a speech at the Israel Museum on Monday.

Trump's visit to Israel is part of his first foreign trip since becoming president in January. The US leader will arrive in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, where he will travel onwards to Israel and the Vatican.

According to The New York Times, the president reportedly "expressed dread" at the length of his nine-day trip and asked for it to be shortened to five days.

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