A commercial flight was forced to make an emergency landing in an area of Iraq recently hit by an airstrike after a flight attendant had a heart attack shortly into the journey.

The plane departed Bahrain International Airport in Bahrain, a small country around 930 miles south of where it was diverted, namely Erbil International Airport in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

The plane took off at around 10:22 UK time on November 22 and was destined for Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris around six hours after departure, but the itinerary was torn up when the Gulf Air staffer was taken ill just two hours into the flight.

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The Airbus A321 passenger aircraft was nearing the Iraq-Turkey border when it was decided that it would divert to Erbil.

The airline said the worker – Yasser Saleh Al Yazidi – was taken to the hospital but was later pronounced dead in the Iraqi city, around 50 miles east of the heavily-bombed city of Mosul, only recently reclaimed from ISIS militants in 2017.

Director of Erbil airport Ahmed Hoshyar told Iraqi media the plane was cruising at 34,000 feet when Yasser became ill.

After about four hours on the ground, the flight continued to Paris after the attendant was taken by local medical services, Gulf Air said.

Gulf Air said in a statement, seen by TradeArabia News Service: "The national carrier expresses its deepest condolences to the crew member's family and loved ones, and confirms that the flight resumed to Paris as scheduled.

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"Gulf Air reassures that the safety of its passengers and crew comes at the top of its priorities, and thanks the affected flight's passengers for their patience and understanding."

It comes after at least one person was killed after rockets fired by Iran hit the headquarters of an Iranian Kurdish party in Koye, near Erbil.

The attack on Monday, November 14, also injured 10 others, according to the mayor of Koye Tariq Haidari.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) claimed the attack, saying it said targeted “terrorist groups” with missiles and drones.

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