Second fire breaks out in Baghdad airport, prompting probe

BAGHDAD (AP) — A fire broke out in Baghdad’s international airport Thursday for a second time in 48 hours, prompting Iraqi authorities to open an investigation.

Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani dismissed the head of the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority over the incidents, according to a statement from his office.

The fire broke out at dawn on the ground floor of the airport’s VIP hall and caused some material damage but no human losses, according to an Iraqi military statement. The fire was put out by 16 civil defense brigades, according to the statement. Flights continued as scheduled.

The civil defense requested that an investigation be launched to determine the cause of the fire. Al-Sudani, who assumed the premiership on Oct. 28, went to the scene of the blaze and then held meetings with top officials and ordered a review into the airport’s security measures.

He also ordered a legal committee to identify individuals responsible for the airport’s fire suppression system which has not been functioning since 2013, the statement from his office said.

An airport official said the fire had started in a section of the VIP hall reserved for the premier and spread to the hall from there. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media about the ongoing investigation.

Thursday’s fire was the second to break out in the span of a week at the airport. On Tuesday, a fire broke out in its departure hall that temporarily suspended flights.

Since al-Sudani assumed power, an American living in Baghdad was shot and killed and Iran has launched missile attacks into the country’s north targeting Kurdish opposition groups.

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