Flights suspended after Baghdad airport rocket-attack: Kuwait Aiways

AP , Sunday 30 Jan 2022

Kuwait suspended flights to Iraq for a week starting Sunday citing security fears after a rocket attack targeted Baghdad international airport. Iraqi authorities, meanwhile, announced an attacker had been apprehended.

Baghdad airport rocket attack
A damaged aircraft sits on the tarmac of Baghdad airport, after a rocket attack in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Jan. 28, 2022. AP

Kuwait Airways, the country's main carrier, said in a statement Saturday that flights to Iraq were temporarily suspended based on instructions from the Kuwaiti Civil Aviation Authority due to "current conditions."

Six rockets struck the Baghdad airport last week damaging two commercial planes belonging to Iraqi Airways, the main national airline. The incident marked an escalation in rocket and drone attacks often targeting the U.S. and its allies, as well as Iraqi government institutions. The attacks have been blamed on Iran-backed militia groups.

Iraqi authorities said in a statement late Saturday they had apprehended a person allegedly behind the airport attack. The individual was arrested at a checkpoint near the northern province of Kirkuk en route to Irbil in the Kurdish-run semi-autonomous region. The statement provided no further details.

Following the attack, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi urged the international community not to impose restrictions on travel to Iraq, while Iraqi Airways said the attack didn't cause any disruptions and flights would continue.

Separately, Iraq's military said late Saturday it had killed nine Islamic State group militants suspected of staging a deadly ambush in the northern province of Diyala. The gunmen stormed an army barracks before dawn while the soldiers slept inside and killed 11.

The militants were killed with three F-16 airstrikes, with more operations planned to root out sleeper cells, Iraq's military said.

Iraq is witnessing an uptick in IS-related attacks. Militants have long exploited the security vacuum across a band of disputed territory in northern Iraq.

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