" --IANS/WAM"
Abu Dhabi, Aug 9 (IANS/WAM) Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has announced that it will re-route its flights to avoid the conflict airspace in Iraq.

Etihad Airways announced Aug 7 that it had suspended all flights to Erbil in Iraq's Kurdistan region with immediate effect until further notice. The decision follows the deterioration of security situation in parts of the Middle East country.

Flights to Basra and Baghdad, which have a daily risk assessment, continue to operate as normal, an airline statement said Saturday.

Iraq is in the midst of battling the Islamic State (IS) Sunni extremist group, which has seized control of cities in the country's northwest.

The current conflict in Iraq has acquired strong sectarian overtones, with disputes between the Kurds, the Sunnis and the Shias.

The Shia-led government is struggling against the Sunni IS fighters, and other Sunni rebel groups.

--IANS/WAM

ab/ksk/vm


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