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mea airbus 321A Baghdad-bound Middle East Airlines flight was forced to return to Beirut 20 minutes after takeoff Thursday, because the son of Iraqi transport minister Hadi al-Amiri who failed to board on time despite repeated announcements over the airport’s PA system.

MEA administration was informed by its station manager in Baghdad twenty minutes into the flight that the Iraqi authorities would not permit the plane to land in Baghdad if al-Amiri’s son Mahdi were not on board, National News Agency reported.

Mahdi al-Amiri and another passenger failed to board the plane on time despite repeated announcements over the airport’s PA system. Due to the passengers’ continued absence, the flight was forced to take off without them, NNA added

Subsequently, MEA’s public relations department issued a statement clarifying the circumstances of the incident, and explained that management was in communication with the Iraqi authorities.

The statement added that “this [event] could cause financiaL losses to MEA and flight scheduling problems and inconveniences for the company and passengers.”

Hadi al-Amiri is the head of the Badr Organization, which which was the military wing of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) of Iraq.

Amiri fought on the side of the Iranians, as part of the Badr Brigade, during the Iran-Iraq War.

As leader of the Badr Organization, Amiri had a very close ties to the Iranian leadership, and in particular the Islamic Revolutionary Guards which was responsible for training the Badr Brigade during Saddam Hussein’s rule.

He is also a member of the Iraqi parliament under the United Iraqi Alliance list, which mainly represents religious Shiite parties.

In addition to his close relations with the Iranian regime and specially Qassem Suleimani ( the Commander of Quds Force, a division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) he is a principle ally of Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The Iranian backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah was formed by the Quds Force in 1982.

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