• The Associated Press

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The U.S. Air Force allowed a squadron to resume flights of F-15 fighter jets Thursday, following a midair accident earlier this week that drew local protests.

While training at Okinawa’s Kadena Air Base on Monday, two F-15C Eagle fighters from the 12th Fighter Squadron brushed against each other in mid-flight.

The planes landed safely without causing any injuries, but the aircraft sustained significant damage. One of the planes sustained a cracked fuselage and damaged left wing and horizontal tail unit, while the other had two vertical tail fins torn off.

Maj. Mike Paoli, a spokesman at Kadena, said the 12th squadron had grounded its flights after the incident for two days, with the pilots receiving extensive training in safety and flight procedures.

Officials restarted flights Thursday because, “there is no reason to suspect mechanical issues were related,” to the incident and the flights were necessary to maintain the pilots’ skills, Paoli said.

F-15 flights from other squadrons have continued to operate as officials have determined that the safety of the aircraft itself is not at issue, he said.

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