Plane catches fire at Tehran airport; 100 passengers evacuated unhurt

An airliner caught fire on landing at Tehran's Mehrabad airport on Tuesday but all 100 passengers were evacuated without injury, the head of Iran's emergency department said on state television. (Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Shahram Sharifi)
Updated 20 March 2019
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Plane catches fire at Tehran airport; 100 passengers evacuated unhurt

  • Plane landed on its body after wheels failed to open — Fars news site
  • Iran Air Fokker was flying from Gulf island

GENEVA, Switzerland: An airliner caught fire on landing at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport on Tuesday but all 100 passengers were evacuated without injury, the head of Iran’s emergency department said on state television.
A video posted by the Islamic Republic News Agency showed flames and sparks shooting out from the back of the plane at the moment of landing.
The fire broke out after the aircraft’s landing gear did not open properly, and was later brought under control, emergency department head Pir-Hossein Kolivand said.
The pilot was unable to open the back wheels of the plane and circled the airport attempting to open all the wheels before landing the plane on its body, according to Fars news agency.
The plane was a Fokker 100 belonging to Iran Air, Fars reported. Other agency reports said it was flying from an Iranian island in the Gulf to the capital.
IRIB news agency quoted Reza Jafarzadeh, the head of public relations at Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization as saying the plane had 24 passengers and nine crew. It did not give any explanation for the discrepancy in the figures.
Iran has suffered a string of plane and helicopter crashes over the past few decades. Tehran says US sanctions have long prevented it from buying new aircraft or spare parts from the West to modernize its fleet.


Iraq lifts nearly 30 km of blast walls from Baghdad: official

Updated 17 June 2019
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Iraq lifts nearly 30 km of blast walls from Baghdad: official

BAGHDAD: Iraqi authorities have removed nearly 30 kilometers of concrete blast walls across Baghdad in the last six months, mostly around the capital’s high-security Green Zone, a senior official told AFP.
Since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, T-walls — thick barriers about six meters tall and one meter wide — have surrounded potential targets of car bombs or other attacks.
When premier Adel Abdel Mahdi came to power last year, he promised to remove barriers, checkpoints and other security measures to make Baghdad easier to navigate.
“Over the last six months, we removed 18,000 T-walls in Baghdad, including 14,000 in the Green Zone alone,” said Staff Lt. Gen. Mohammed Al-Bayati, the PM’s top military adviser.
Hundreds of the security checkpoints that contributed to Baghdad’s notorious traffic jams have also been removed.
And according to the Baghdad municipality, 600 streets that had been closed off to public access have been opened in the last six months.
Among them are key routes crossing through Baghdad’s Green Zone, the enclave where government buildings, UN agencies and embassies including the US and UK missions are based.
It was long inaccessible to most Iraqis until an order from Abdel Mahdi last year, and families can now be seen picking their way across its manicured parks for sunset pictures.
Iraq is living a rare period of calm after consecutive decades of violence, which for Baghdad peaked during the sectarian battles from 2006 to 2008.
It was followed, in 2014, by Daesh’s sweep across a third of the country and a three-year battle to oust the militants from their urban strongholds.
The group still wages hit-and-run attacks against Iraqi security forces and government targets, and Baghdad’s authorities are on high alert.
Thousands of the removed T-walls have been placed on Baghdad’s outskirts to prevent infiltration by Daesh sleeper cells, according to Bayati.