A middle east airlines (MEA) airplane is seen in the tarmac of Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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A Middle East Airlines plane was forced to return to Beirut airport while in midair after Iraqi authorities refused to allow it to land in Baghdad without the son of an Iraqi official on board, the airline said in a statement.Twenty minutes after the plane's departure, the head of MEA in Baghdad contacted the flight crew, saying Iraqi authorities would not allow the plane to land unless Amiri's son was on board.Kareem al-Nuri, the transport minister's media adviser, said: "There were cleaning operations in the airport and specific measures were taken. We asked all flights not to land in Baghdad airport after 9 a.m. (0600 GMT) but this flight arrived after this time, so we asked it to turn back.
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