Baghdad flights disrupted after bullet hits flydubai jet

Baghdad flights disrupted after bullet hits flydubai jet
A file picture taken on November 17, 2011, shows a low budget commercial airliner FlyDubai (R) landing at Dubai International airport

BAGHDAD - A bullet hit the fuselage of a flydubai airliner on its descent into Baghdad, prompting many carriers to suspend their flights to the Iraqi capital on Tuesday.

Flight FZ215 was hit by "small arms fire" before landing on Monday but all passengers disembarked safely, a flydubai spokesperson told AFP.

The no-frills carrier, a sister firm of Emirates, said it was working with Iraqi authorities to investigate the incident, adding that it would continue to fly to its other destinations in Iraq.

Other UAE carriers, including Emirates, Etihad and Air Arabia, suspended their flights to Baghdad, as did Turkish Airlines and Lebanon's Middle East Airlines (MEA).

"Emirates has suspended its services to Baghdad until further notice due to operational reasons," the Dubai-based carrier said.

The Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways said it had "suspended all flights to the Iraqi city with immediate effect and until further notice."

The website of Sharjah-based budget carrier Air Arabia also showed that flights to Baghdad were not available.

MEA chief executive Mohammad al-Hout said Tuesday's Beirut-Baghdad service had been cancelled, although the airline's flights to other Iraqi cities were continuing as normal.

"As far as tomorrow's (flight) is concerned, we are waiting to assess the situation and see what steps are going to be taken before deciding," he told AFP.

A Turkish Airlines official told AFP its Tuesday flights to Baghdad had been cancelled for "operational reasons," while Royal Jordanian said it was reviewing the situation.

Western airlines flying over Iraq have taken extra precautions in recent months for fear that jihadists of the Islamic State group might acquire weapons able to hit cruising airliners.

Baghdad International Airport is located west of the capital, near the border with Anbar province, which is largely controlled by IS fighters.

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