The Latest: EgyptAir to suspend Cairo-to-Irbil flights

Markets Associated Press

The Latest on developments in Iraq (all times local):

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1:30 p.m.

Egypt's national airline will suspend flights between Cairo and the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, the capital of a Kurdish-controlled area seeking independence from the rest of the country.

EgyptAir officials say Wednesday's decision goes into effect starting Friday, adding that Iraq's civil aviation authority had requested a halt on flights between Irbil and Cairo after the Kurdish region held a referendum on secession.

They say EgyptAir flies between Cairo and Irbil thrice weekly, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

The Kurdish vote on Monday — the results likely showing support for independence — has rattled the region's relations with Baghdad and other countries.

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— Menna Zaki

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12:20 p.m.

A Lebanese airline official says the country's flagship carrier airline will halt its flights to and from Irbil, the capital in Iraq's Kurdish region.

The official says Wednesday the Middle East Airlines flights will be halted starting Friday.

The decision comes after the Kurdish region claimed victory in an independence referendum that has been vehemently rejected by Baghdad and Iraq's other neighbors.

Iraq's prime minister had ordered the Kurdish region to hand over control of its airports to federal authorities or face a flight ban.

The Lebanese airline has one flight per day to Irbil. The official said all flights coming from Irbil will also not be allowed to land in Beirut's International airport. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.