Kuwait Airways suspends Iraq flights after attack on Baghdad airport

Rockets hit runway and damaged two aircraft on Friday

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Kuwait's national airline has suspended flights to Iraq after the international airport in Iraq was hit by rocket fire that damaged aircraft on the tarmac.

Six rockets hit Baghdad International Airport at 4am on Friday, damaging two aircraft, Iraqi security officials said.

There were no casualties from the attack, an official told The National.

Kuwait Airways said the Kuwaiti civil aviation authority ordered the airline to suspend flights because of the "current conditions" in Iraq.

Iraq has suffered an increase in violence as disputes between major political groups go on and MPs try to form a government after the general election in October.

Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi's government blamed “non-state terrorist gangs” for the airport attack, a reference to Iran-backed Shiite militias.

A statement issued by the Security Media Cell said six rockets hit the airport and damaged two aircraft.

A launcher and three rockets were found in Abu Ghraib, on the western outskirts of Baghdad, it said.

A passenger plane believed to be the one damaged by rocket fire at Baghdad International Airport. Photo: Iraqi security official

Mr Al Kadhimi said the attack represents "a new attempt to undermine Iraq’s reputation, which we have endeavoured to restore regionally and internationally".

He added the strike was part of a "frantic" rise in attacks over the past few months that were intended to destabilise the country.

"The Iraqi security forces, which have taken their full role in providing security and confronting terrorism in all its forms, will have a decisive response to this type of dangerous operation that is supported by agendas against Iraq's interest," he said on Friday.

No party has claimed responsibility for the attack.

On Tuesday, three Katyusha rockets were fired towards the home of Iraq's Speaker of Parliament Mohammed Al Halbousi in west Baghdad, wounding two children.

On January 5, Katyusha rockets hit Iraqi military bases hosting US forces near Baghdad International Airport and west of the Iraqi capital.

A series of attacks this month, some of which the US blames on Iran-aligned militia groups, have targeted bases or installations hosting US military and diplomatic personnel but have caused no US casualties.

The Iran-aligned militia have in previous years carried out dozens of similar attacks, mostly causing little harm. But the attacks have become more sophisticated in the past year with the use of fixed-wing and multi-rotor drones.

Reuters contributed to this report

Updated: January 29, 2022, 5:42 PM
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