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Bomb found on Iraq commercial flight
Updated: 2004-11-23 21:23

A bomb has been found on a commercial flight in Iraq, the U.S. embassy said on Tuesday.

The improvised device was found on Monday, a spokeswoman said. She declined to give further details but said security arrangements were tightened at Baghdad International Airport.

It was not clear whether the bomb targeted a passenger or cargo flight, but the embassy renewed a warning to U.S. citizens to reconsider plans to travel by commercial airline to Baghdad.

Baghdad airport was virtually closed by U.N. sanctions after the Gulf War. Transformed into a U.S. military base on the fall of Saddam Hussein, it has yet to see a resumption of normal traffic, partly due to attacks on aircraft in flight.

It was closed to civilians for a week until Nov. 15 during a U.S. offensive against guerrillas in the nearby city of Falluja.

A private cargo jet was damaged by a missile on take-off from Baghdad exactly a year ago, on Nov. 22, 2003. In June this year, an Australian military cargo plane was hit by rifle fire and an American aboard was killed.

Iraqi Airways, returning to business after years in mothballs, and Royal Jordanian Airlines operate Iraq's only scheduled passenger flights, between Baghdad and the Jordanian capital Amman, about an hour's flying time away.

A spokesman for Royal Jordanian in Amman said Monday's bomb incident did not involve one of its planes.

With bombs and kidnap gangs a major threat on Iraq's roads, international travelers have little choice but to fly.

A month ago, the U.S. embassy issued another warning that guerrillas were firing rifles and missiles at planes landing and taking off, posing a particular threat to aircraft not equipped with military defensive systems: "There is credible information that terrorists are targeting civil aviation," it said.

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