U.S. sanctions Iraqi airline backing terror

Fly Baghdad transports fighters, ballistic missiles, rockets, grenades and automatic rifles as well as sacks full of dollars, to IRGC members, pro-Iran militias in Syria and Lebanon

The U.S. announced it was sanctioning airlines who had been supporting terror groups, including Fly Baghdad, Iraq's premier carrier, and its CEO Basheer Abdulkadhim Alwan al-Shabbani.
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Since October 7, the tourism industry has come under scrutiny as governments and law agencies in the West have attempted to find and disrupt companies who have been providing services to the terror groups.
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מטוס עיראקי "פליי בגדד"
מטוס עיראקי "פליי בגדד"
Fly Baghdad airliner
(Photo: Wikipedia)
According to the U.S. Treasury, Fly Baghdad has been transporting arms and sacks of U.S. dollars, to the Damascus International Airport, to be delivered to Hezbollah, members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iranian militia groups. Furthermore, according to the American government, the Fly Baghdad's latest flight carried Iraqi militias to support Iranian proxies fighting against Israel, after the October 7 Hamas massacre.
The airline cleared space for "an array of weapons," including Fatah 110 ballistic missiles, Zolfaghar missiles, and Fajr-3 artillery rockets as well as grenades and automatic rifles, it carried for use by Iran backed groups in Syria.
According to a statement released by the U.S. Treasury Department, the airline's flights provided shipments of weapons and bags of American currency to Damascus International Airport for transfer to Hezbollah, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Iranian militia groups. Furthermore, according to the Americans, Fly Baghdad recently flew Iraqi soldiers to support "Iran-aligned militias attacks against U.S. personnel since Hamas’s horrific attack on Israel on October 7."
"Kata’ib Hizballah - the pro Iran Iraqi militia, has been using Fly Baghdad to transport fighters, weapons, and money to Syria and Lebanon to prop up the Syrian regime. Leaders used Fly Baghdad flights on multiple occasions to transport bags of U.S. currency and U.S.-made weapons obtained through battlefield collection from Iraq to Lebanon. KH sent fighters from Iraq to Lebanon on flights operated by Fly Baghdad and U.S.-designated Al-Nasr Wings to attend special operations training," the statement said.
The sanctions prohibit any dealings with the company " by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.”
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חסן נסראללה
חסן נסראללה
Flying first class? Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
(Photo: via X)
Fly Baghdad has denied the allegations made by the United States and said it would take legal action to seek compensation for losses resulting from the sanctions, "as it’s clear that the decision was based on false information and can’t abide before the law."
The airline operates a fleet of eight Boeing 737 planes and routes to 25 destinations worldwide, including neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt, as well as Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, India, Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia, and more.
It was established in 2014 but has been operating in its current form from the Baghdad International Airport since 2017, following the dismantling of its old management. Fly Baghdad defines itself as "Iraq's first technology-focused airline," with its slogan "Less Price... More Flights" - even though all of its flights to the European Union were canceled in November 2023, following "safety concerns."
In rankings, it appears at the 265th spot out of 382 global airlines, between China Cargo Airlines and Iraqi Airways – with reviews ranging from highly positive to very negative.
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דירוג שלילי לחברת התעופה פליי בגדד
דירוג שלילי לחברת התעופה פליי בגדד
Negative review for Fly Baghdad
Sanctions have also been imposed on the owners of travel and tourism companies based in Baghdad that are used by Hezbollah to gather and launder finds. Additionally, sanctions target Riyad Ali Hussein al-Azzawi, known as a specialist in the production of unmanned aerial vehicles, whose “fingerprints were found on an Iranian missile that was launched in the vicinity of U.S. forces in Iraq in 2021.”
In a separate statement, the U.S., UK, and Australia declared a new round of sanctions against Hamas and its supporters, including owners of financial exchanges that, according to the White House, play a key role in transferring funds and cryptocurrencies to Gaza.
Among others, this includes members of the Herzallah and Shamlakh families, currency exchanges, and cryptocurrency traders from Gaza who transferred tens of millions of dollars from Iran to Hamas via the Arab China Trading Company and its branch in Turkey.
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