Baghdad Airport was targeted and struck by rockets on Friday, January 31, 2014. Three missiles were used to target the airport. Security at the intensely protected airport reported that there were no casualties.
The runway at the airport was hit by a rocket. Another exploded upon striking the outer area of the airport’s border. The third rocket hit a plane that was sitting on the runway. There were no passengers or crew members in the airplane at the time of the explosion.
According to the head of civil aviation in Baghdad, Captain Nasser Bander, there was no disruption in air traffic. He said that flights in and out of the airport are all on schedule. The damage caused no delays. Captain Bander maintains that everything at the airport is going well after the rocket strikes.
There is, however, a security concern. The idea that Iraq is becoming more vulnerable increases concerns for not only the airport but the roads and all transportation networks. Militants can strike at any moment across the country due to fewer and fewer security measures being put in place.
Baghdad International Airport is the largest airport in Iraq. At one point in time it was called Saddam International Airport. In 2003, U.S forces successfully renamed the airport. It was changed to the current Baghdad International Airport.
The airport is host to 15 different passenger airlines from three separate terminals. Each of the terminals can handle 2.5 million air passengers every year. It is also home to Iraqi Airways. The airline is considered Iraq’s nationwide airline.
Baghdad International Airport has no specific warnings concerning being the target of three recent rocket strikes. The last warning for travel to Iraq was issued through the Embassy in Iraq on September 5, 2013. It is updated on a regular basis as needed. Attacks to the airport are rare. Security at the airport is stringent and passengers commonly must pass through a number of checkpoints.
The concern that is raised by authorities involves the recently growing violent attacks in Iraq. At this time, no group has taken responsibility for the airport bombing. The violence is growing at an alarming rate and has more than tripled from a year ago.
On January 30, 2014, militants overtook an office building in Iraq. Twenty people were killed while others were taken hostage. The transport office and the human rights office are located in the building. Security was able to close off the building and areas nearby. The men who stormed into the building were ultimately killed by Iraqi security. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
During the past month, there has been an ongoing standoff between Iraqi forces and militants. There are groups tied to al Qaeda, along with Sunni Islamists, who are becoming more forceful and violent than they previously were. Two cities in the province of Anbar have been seized. The militants overran the city of Fallujah. The latest attack has been the targeted rocket strike on the Baghdad International Airport. The U.S. Embassy, which is located in this capital city of Iraq, has condemned the attacks on the ministry of transportation.
by Saki Kahala