The US-led International Coalition in Iraq has announced that it complies with the Iraqi government’s recent directives to ban any aircraft in the airspace of the country, except with the permission of the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi issued on Wednesday night, Thursday, a number of security decisions, including “canceling approvals for aviation in all Iraqi airspace from reconnaissance, armed reconnaissance, fighter aircraft, helicopters, and drones of all kinds to all Iraqi and non-Iraqi.”
Abdul-Mahdi’s decisions come shortly after an explosion at a weapons store belonging to Iraqi forces in southern Baghdad, followed by successive explosions due to the firing of shells, which resulted in the injury of 29 people lightly.
The cause of the explosion, which is still being investigated by the Iraqi authorities, is still unknown. Unconfirmed rumors have been circulated that it could be targeted by a drone, without official confirmation.
Abdul Mahdi said in his decision that the flight approvals are limited to “the commander-in-chief of the armed forces exclusively, or whoever is duly authorized by him … and all parties must abide strictly by this directive, and any other traffic is considered hostile.”
Similarly, the international coalition confirmed in a statement Friday that senior leaders of it met with officials from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense to discuss the guidance of Abdul-Mahdi.
“As a guest within Iraq’s sovereign borders, it complies with all laws and directives from the Government of Iraq, and will immediately comply with all directives from our Iraqi partners while they are implementing the Prime Minister’s order,” the coalition said.
The Iraqi government has repeatedly stressed that coalition aircraft are moving in Iraqi airspace with the permission of the government and in coordination with them and with the Joint Operations Command.
The international coalition has been instrumental in supporting Iraqi forces during their battles to expel ISIS from the country and declare victory at the end of 2017.