Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways suspends flights to northern Iraq's Irbil, citing security concerns

Associated Press

One of the Middle East's largest airlines, Etihad Airways, says security concerns have prompted it to suspend all of flights to the northern Iraqi city of Irbil.

The Abu Dhabi-based airlines says its flights to Irbil are being halted until further notice because of the possibility of a deteriorating security situation in the area as a result of conflict between Iraqi security forces and fighters of an al-Qaida breakaway group.

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The Islamic State fighters have made bold advances in Iraq and claim to have seized a total of 17 cities, towns and targets over the past five days.

Etihad's announcement Thursday comes just days after the region's biggest airliner, Emirates, also suspended flights to Irbil.

Both airlines still fly to Iraq's capital, Baghdad and the southern city of Basra.