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Tuesday 16 September 2014

European and Dubai airlines divert flights over Iraq after MH17 disaster

Published 30/07/2014 | 17:14

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A stewardess from Malaysia Airlines lays a flower in remembrance of lost colleagues during a multi-faith event to pray for the passengers and crew of MH17 at the airline's academy in Kuala Lumpur July 25, 2014. Nearly 300 people were killed when the Malaysia Airlines plane en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was brought down in eastern Ukraine, where separatists are battling government forces, on July 17. REUTERS/Olivia Harris (MALAYSIA - Tags: DISASTER TRANSPORT)
A stewardess from Malaysia Airlines lays a flower in remembrance of lost colleagues during a multi-faith event to pray for the passengers and crew of MH17 at the airline's academy in Kuala Lumpur July 25, 2014. REUTERS/Olivia Harris

European and Dubai-based airlines are diverting flights over Iraqi airspace as a security precaution.

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An Emirates Airline spokesperson in Dubai said it will divert planes that use Iraqi airspace. A number of European carriers, including Virgin Atlantic, KLM and Air France say they will do the same.

This follows the crash of a Malaysia Airlines flight over rebel-held Ukraine.

Iraq is facing a security crisis after militants with the extremist Islamic State group captured large swathes of northern and western Iraq, including its second-largest city, Mosul.

The head of the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority, however, maintains Iraqi airspace is safe. Nassir Bandar says: "There is no threat to airplanes passing over the Iraqi skies."

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