Greek plane makes emergency landing in Tel Aviv

A Greek charter plane made an emergency landing at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport on Thursday after the pilot had sent out a distress signal, an airport official told AFP.

"The airport was placed on a state of alert after receiving a distress message about a technical problem but the aircraft landed without incident," the official said.

Israeli media had earlier identified the aircraft as a Jordanian passenger plane.

"The pilot on his approach to Ben Gurion airport told the control tower the plane had a serious problem with the hydraulic system," the official said.

"The airport was placed on a state of alert. We mobilised ambulances and firefighters to be ready for all eventualities, but the pilot managed to maintain control of the aircraft until it landed," he added.

"We closed off Israel's airspace, and rerouted other planes -- two landed in Cyprus," he said.

According to the official, onboard the plane -- which took off from Crete and was headed to Israel -- were 178 crew members and passengers, most of them Israelis.