A flydubai airliner was shot at as it came in to land at Baghdad airport, injuring a young girl.
The dramatic incident prompted a suspension of flights by carriers from the United Arab Eemirates to the Iraqi capital.
A flydubai airliner landing at Dubai International airport in 2011. Photo / AFP
user Bin Tamim posted a picture on his feed that he claimed was one of
the bullet holes caused by the small arms fire. It can clearly be seen
between the seat and the armrest.
unverified image, shared widely on Twitter and since removed by its
original poster, purportedly shows a bullet hole in the cabin of the
flydubai airliner. Photo / Twitter
The picture has yet to be
confirmed as authentic. The user’s account appears to have been
deactivated after the picture was posted.
“There was no consequence other than a slight injury to a
young girl. The pilot landed and he was not aware of what had happened,”
Iraq’s Transport Minister Baqr Jabr al-Zubaidi told reporters at the
Flight FZ215 was hit by “small arms fire” before landing
on Monday but all passengers disembarked safely, a flydubai
spokesperson told AFP.
An aviation official and a security
official told Reuters two passengers were lightly injured when three or
four bullets hit the body of flight FZ215 but they were unable to
specify the source of the gunfire.
The no-frills carrier, a
sister firm of Emirates, said it was working with Iraqi authorities to
investigate the incident, adding that it will continue to fly to its
other destinations in Iraq.
Other UAE airlines, including Emirates, Etihad and Air Arabia, suspended their flights to Baghdad.
“Emirates has suspended its services to Baghdad until further notice due to operational reasons,” the Dubai-based airline said.
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.
Baghdad airport staff confirmed there had been disruption to flights after Monday’s incident.
plane was able to land normally but some airlines have cancelled or
delayed their flights today,” one airport employee said, speaking on
condition of anonymity.
Flights from some of the other major
airlines flying to Baghdad, such as Turkish Airlines and Royal
Jordanian, were delayed, their websites showed.
“The exact timing
of flights is not yet clear. Operation directors are currently having a
meeting,” a Turkish Airlines official told AFP in Ankara.
airlines flying over Iraq have taken extra precautions in recent months
for fear that jihadists of the Islamic State (Isis) group might acquire
weapons able to hit cruising airliners.
Airport is located west of the capital, near the province of Anbar,
which is largely controlled by Isis fighters.