Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New airport opens in Iraq

On July 20, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was a passenger on the first plane to land at a new airport at Najaf International Airport in southern Iraq.

Officials hope the new airport will increase tourism and boost business activities in the region. It will also employ hundreds of people in positions ranging from customer service to security.

Maliki said the airport represents a victory over those who would tear Iraq apart.

"The Najaf airport is a starting point for competition among provinces and local governments to make extraordinary progress toward reconstruction. We were determined to face the terrorism that was about to destroy Iraq,” he said. “The strong will of the federal government has fought and defeated it in all of its forms.”

The investment firm Al-Aqeelah, based in Kuwait, funded the airport, which makes up part of a multi-billion dollar project also including homes and hotels in the city. The firm committed $80 million to the airport.

This represents yet another sign of the increasing stability in Iraq.

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