An Iraqi Airways flight carrying 152 Hajj pilgrims took off from airport for Baghdad, before connecting to a flight to Saudi Arabia.

The city was declared a no-fly zone by the US military in 1993 in the wake of the first Gulf War in 1991.

The airport has been substantially rebuilt in a co-operative effort between the US State Department and Baghdad government. The US says the site has been reopened with the intention of restarting flights to Saudi Arabia.