Rocket fire attack damages runway of Basra airport in Iraq

The Basra airport in southern Iraq came under mortar or rocket fire which damaged the runway and forced authorities to suspend civilian flights for a day, a British military spokesman said Tuesday.

Maj. Matthew Bird said the attack occurred Monday but did not cause any casualties.

"As a result of one of the attacks, the runway received light damage, which led to the closure of the civilian International Airport for 24 hours and the cancellation of a number of civilian flights," Bird said.

The airport is controlled by British forces whose bases around Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, come under almost daily attacks.

On Monday evening a British position came under small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire in the city center but there were no casualties among the troops, Bird said. He said that it is believed that a number of gunmen were hit.