Baghdad, Sep 17 (IANS) With stability returning to the war-torn West Asian nation, Iraq and Russia on Sunday restored scheduled commercial airline services for the first time since 2004, an Iraqi Airways source said.

An Iraqi Airways plane left Baghdad for Moscow’s Vnukovo airport, Iraqi Airways said, Xinhua news agency reported.

It is a signal on the part of the Iraqi authorities that Russian nationals can safely visit Iraq, it said.

The two countries may also later agree on air travel to the Iraqi city of Basra, the source added.

Russia suspended regular flights to Iraq in 2004 after the US-led invasion in 2003 plunged the Arab country into war.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.