ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The US-led coalition on Friday announced its immediate compliance with the recent decision issued by Prime Minister of Iraq Adil Abdul Mahdi on the country’s airspace after an explosion in a weapons warehouse rocked the capital city of Baghdad.
The announcement came after senior leaders of the coalition, officially known as Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), met with Iraqi Ministry of Defense officials to discuss the prime minister’s current guidance regarding airspace usage.
“As guests within Iraq's sovereign borders, CJTF-OIR complies with all Iraqi laws and direction from the Government of Iraq. The U.S.-led coalition immediately complied with all directions received from our Iraqi partners as they implemented the Prime Minister's order,” the coalition said.
“CJTF-OIR forces operate within Iraq at the request, and under the protection, of the Government of Iraq and in partnership with Iraqi Security Forces.”
Recently, a weapons depot of the pro-Iran Shia Hashd al-Shaabi exploded at the Saqr military base in Central Baghdad's southern Doura neighborhood, killing one person and wounding 37 others, according to local authorities.
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Abdul Mahdi issued a set of decisions, including the transfer of all armament storage facilities out of cities and tightening security measures in the country’s airspace.
He was “revoking all flight approvals from Iraqi airspace (reconnaissance, armed reconnaissance, fighter aircraft, helicopters, drones of all kinds) to all [military flights], both Iraqi and non-Iraqi. The approvals shall be limited to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces exclusively.”
The decree continued, “All parties shall abide strictly by this directive and any other traffic that is considered hostile will be handled by our air defenses immediately.”
The orders came after rumors spread on the Iraqi social media networks with some activists claiming the explosion in the militia’s munitions warehouse was in the result of an air attack by an Israeli fighter jet. Multiple Iraqi officials made the same claim.
Since the campaign to defeat the Islamic State began on Oct. 2014, the coalition assisted the federal government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the liberation of territories occupied by the jihadist group.
The coalition’s support includes, but is not limited to, training over 220,000 members security forces, providing billions of dollars in equipment and supporting nearly 15,000 coordinated strikes with the local governments.
Editing by John J. Catherine