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Airlines avoiding flying through Iran and Iraq airspace

Iran launched a series of missiles at bases housing US troops in the early hours, officials in Washington and Tehran said.

This still image from an Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting video shot on 8 January 2020, allegedly shows rockets launched from Iran against the US military base in Ein-al Asad in Iraq. Iran fired "more than a dozen" ballistic missiles on 7 January 2020, against two airbases in Iraq where US and coalition forces are based, the Pentagon said. Picture: AFP

FRANCE - A growing number of airlines said Wednesday they were avoiding Iranian and Iraqi airspace for flights to the region after Tehran fired ballistic missiles against bases housing US troops in Iraq.

"As a precautionary measure and following news of air strikes underway, Air France has decided to suspend until further notice all flights through Iranian and Iraqi airspace," an Air France spokesman told AFP.

Iran launched a series of missiles at bases housing US troops in the early hours, officials in Washington and Tehran said.

Iran's supreme leader called the attacks a "slap in the face" after a US drone strike killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani near Baghdad international airport last week.

Shortly after the missile attacks, the US Federal Aviation Administration said it was banning US-registered carriers from flying over Iraq, Iran and the Gulf.

Its Russian counterpart, the Federal Air Transport Agency, said it was recommending airlines avoid the air space over Iran, Iraq and the Persian and Oman Gulfs "due to information about current risks for safety of international passenger flights".

The region is an important corridor for flights travelling between Europe and Asia, although planes can be rerouted.

A KLM spokesman told AFP: "Until further notice, KLM has no flights over Iranian or Iraqi airspace. All flights to different Southeast Asian destinations and other destinations in the Middle East will be flown through alternative routes."

In Germany, Lufthansa said it had cancelled its daily flight to Tehran in addition to halting overflights of Iran and Iraq until further notice.

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