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Baghdad reopens airport after city slammed by dust again

Iraq has reopened its airport after briefly closing it due to choking clouds of dust blanketing the capital, the latest crippling sandstorm in a country that has warned climate change poses an “existential threat.”

It was the tenth duststorm since mid-April to hit Iraq, which has been battered by intense droughts, soil degradation, high temperatures and low rainfall linked to climate change.

On Monday morning, a thick white dust covered the Iraqi capital and surroundings areas, with visibility slashed to a few hundred meters.

Thick dust covers the Iraqi capital Baghdad and surrounding areas, with visibility slashed to a few hundred meters, on June 13, 2022. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)

Officials at Baghdad airport announced the temporary suspension of flights for a few hours before they were restarted at around 10:30 a.m. local time.

In Najaf, a Shiite holy city in central Iraq, the airport briefly suspended operations in the morning before reopening a few hours later when the dust passed.

Airports have been forced to suspend flights several times due to sandstorms in recent weeks.

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