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Lucknow to Najaf: Air India restarts flights to Iraq after a 30-year gap

The five-and-a-half-hour flight from Lucknow to Najaf will operate on Mondays and Thursdays.


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National carrier has resumed flights to Iraq after a 30-year gap. On Thursday an plane flew Shiite pilgrims to the city of The plane started its journey from and upon landing the crew and pilgrims were welcomed by Iraqi officials.

"This is the first time in the last 30 years" that a plane has come from India to Iraq, said Pradeep Singh Rajpurohit, India's ambassador to Iraq, at the international airport that serves the Shiite holy city.

The five-and-a-half-hour flight from to will operate on Mondays and Thursdays.

The flight AI414 was flagged off at airport by Home Minister Rajnath Sinh in the presence of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma and eminent personalities of the

Flights were prevented by years of conflict in Iraq and sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime after his invasion of Kuwait, as well as by the extended chaos that came in the wake of the former dictator's 2003 downfall.

Shiite pilgrims from around the world come to Najaf, some 150 kilometres (90 miles) south of Baghdad, to visit the tomb of Imam Ali, Prophet Mohammed's son-in-law and founder of Shiite Islam.

First Published: Fri, February 15 2019. 09:35 IST