Iraq prohibits military flights from using airspace without PM's permission

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-16 00:29:12|Editor: yan
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BAGHDAD, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi ordered on Thursday that all military flights including reconnaissance aircraft be prohibited from using the Iraqi airspace without his permission.

Chairing a National Security Council (NSC) meeting, Mahdi issued the order to "cancel permissions of flights in Iraq's airspace for reconnaissance aircraft, armed reconnaissance aircraft, fighter jets, helicopters and drones for all Iraqi and non-Iraqi parties," according to a statement by the media office of the Joint Operations Command (JOC).

Mahdi, also the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces, specified that flight permissions must be exclusively given by him or any party authorized by him.

"All parties must abide by this directive and any violation of Iraq's airspace shall be considered hostile and be dealt with immediately by the Iraqi air defense," the Iraqi prime minister was quoted as saying in the JOC statement.

The statement, however, did not provide further details about the future of the aircraft of the U.S.-led coalition, which are providing support to the Iraqi forces by conducting airstrikes against the remnants of the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

Mahdi's order came during the discussion at the NSC meeting about the huge explosion of an ammunition depot in southern Baghdad on Monday, which killed a civilian and wounded 29 including six policemen and Hashd Shaabi members.

He ordered a thorough investigation into the huge explosion in the Iraqi capital and removal of all ammunition warehouses and military camps to areas outside the cities, the statement said.