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Flights to Basra in southern Iraq are being introduced from Abu Dhabi by UAE carrier Etihad Airways.

The airline already runs services to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and Erbil in the north of the country. More than 100,000 passengers were carried between Abu Dhabi and the two cities last year.

Basra will become the 84th destination in the carrier’s global network on April 15 with four flights a week using a 136-seat Airbus A319.

Etihad president and CEO James Hogan said: “Iraq’s surging economy represents a good opportunity to add even greater depth to our schedule.

“Basra is an important industrial and transport hub but currently has only limited access to air services and we are delighted to be able to help improve these by investing in the local