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Saudi Arabia's state airline changes flight routes to avoid Iran airspace

Saudi Arabia's state airline Saudia says it is rerouting flight paths to some Asian destinations in order to avoid Iranian airspace amid heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf.

The statement Saturday evening follows the US Federal Aviation Administration's decision to bar US-registered aircraft from operating over parts of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, after Iran shot down a US military drone on Thursday.

The airline says it's a precautionary measure for aviation safety, and Saudi-owned Al Arabiya news channel says the airline's decision affects flight routes over the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz.

Other regional carriers like Etihad and Emirates on Friday announced they too have changed their flight paths in the Persian Gulf region.


US President Donald Trump continued his war of words with Iran on Saturday, saying that Washington would impose "major" new sanctions on Iran in two days - a move sure to exacerbate tensions with the Islamic republic inflamed by the downing of the US spy plane.

Trump tamped down the threat of military action on Friday, when he called off retaliatory strikes at the last minute because the response was not "proportionate" to the drone's destruction over the Strait of Hormuz.

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