Iraq opens airport in holy city of Najaf
Sun, 20 Jul 2008 23:47:12
The Iraqi prime minister has inaugurated a new airport in the holy city of Najaf, which hosts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims each year. Nouri al-Maliki called the project a major step on the road to Iraq's political and economic development, as he addressed a crowd gathered for the opening ceremony of Al Hamza Aiport. "It is a historic moment. It is a moment that symbolizes equality among all Iraqis," said Maliki. Each year more than nine million pilgrims visit the Shrine of Imam Ali (PBUH) in Najaf. The new airport is expected to increase that figure by 10 percent.
Al Hamza airport, formerly a military airfield, was renovated as part of a huge multi-billion dollar project led by the Kuwaiti company Al-Aqeelah. An airport is also to open soon in Karbala, another city that Shia pilgrims visit during their tour of Iraq's holy sites, as it is home to the shrines of Imam Hussein (PBUH) and his brother Abbas. (Source)