Iraq Shuts Airports, Claims 9/11-Style Attack Foiled

Pilot, Airport Worker Arrested Over Elaborate 'Plot'

At least two of Iraq’s airports, in Baghdad in Najaf, remain closed tonight after security officials announced they had uncovered a 9/11-style plot to fly hijacked planes into major Shi’ite religious sites.

Two people, one of them a pilot, have reportedly been arrested in the plot, which the Iraqi government says was orchestrated by al-Qaeda in Iraq. There is as of yet no timeline for reopening either airport, as both are near major religious sites.

One of the apparent targets, the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, has seen no shortage of previous attacks, with major bombings near the shrine several times since the US invasion and pilgrimages to the location almost constantly under attack.

Despite the sensational nature of the plot, US officials said it did not appear to have gotten past the planning stages, and that it was unclear the accused were even capable of carrying it out.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of