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03 Jan 2020 | 12:36 PM UTC

Iraq: Gulf Air suspends flights to Baghdad, Najaf January 3 /update 1

Gulf Air suspends flights to and from Baghdad and Najaf January 3; confirm flight reservations

transportation
IRQ

Event

Bahrain's Gulf Air announced that all flights to and from the Iraqi cities of Baghdad and Najaf would be suspended as of Friday, January 3, until further notice due to the security situation in Baghdad and at Baghdad International Airport.

Royal Jordanian Airlines also announced earlier on Friday that it would be suspending flights between Amman (Jordan) and Baghdad until further notice. Royal Jordanian Airlines flights to the other Iraqi cities, Basra, Erbil, Najaf, and Sulaymaniyah, will continue to operate as scheduled.

Further flight cancelations are possible over the near term.

Context

The US Department of Defense released a statement on January 3, claiming responsibility for an airstrike targeting Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Iran's Quds Force, near Baghdad International Airport (BGW). According to the statement, Soleimani was "actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region." Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), was also killed in the strike along with six other individuals.

Advice

Individuals flying via the abovementioned airlines are advised to monitor the situation and confirm flight reservations.

The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.