FAA issues emergency restriction for Iraq, Iran, Persian Gulf airspace after Iran missile attacks
WASHINGTON - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is restricting flights over Iraq, Iran and Persian Gulf airspace in response to Iranian missile attacks that targeted two bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq Wednesday.
The FAA cited a potential for miscalculation or misidentification for the restrictions on U.S. civil aviation operators.
"The Federal Aviation Administration issued Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS) tonight outlining flight restrictions that prohibit U.S. civil aviation operators from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman," the agency said in a statement.
Some international air carriers are avoiding the airspace, as well. Singapore Airlines announced it was diverting flights from Iranian airspace to Europe, Bloomberg reported.
The FAA notice comes hours after Iran took responsibility for firing more than a dozen ballistic missiles into Iraq that targeted U.S. and coalition forces. The airstrikes were in response to the death of Iranian Quds Force Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week.
Soleimani was killed in a U.S.-ordered drone strike at Baghdad International Airport early Friday, along with several Iraqi military leaders. The killing has escalated tensions between Washington and Tehran, with each side threatening military force in the days since.
The FAA said the restrictions are due to “heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the Middle East, which present an inadvertent risk to U.S. civil aviation operations.” The agency said it was monitoring the situation in the Middle East and was sharing "information with U.S. air carriers and foreign civil authorities.“
The missiles launched by Iran targeted the Al-Assad Air Base and a military base in Erbil, the Pentagon said. A military official told Fox News that initial assessments showed "no casualties" in the attack.
“In recent days and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the Department of Defense has taken all appropriate measures to safeguard our personnel and partners," the Pentagon said. "These bases have been on high alert due to indications that the Iranian regime planned to attack our forces and interests in the region. As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend U.S. personnel, partners and allies in the region.”
The USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier strike group has been in the Gulf of Oman, along with guided-missile destroyers, a guided-missile cruiser and at least one submarine. The U.S. Navy warships and submarine together had hundreds of Tomahawk cruise missiles with pre-planned targets locked into the missiles.
The ships would be ready to fire if given the order, two senior Pentagon officials told Fox News.
President Trump has not made a public statement since the Iranian attack. The White House said it was monitoring the situation closely and consulting with national security officials.