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Morocco shuts airports as ash cloud nears Africa
RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco closed several airports on Tuesday as the cloud of ash from a volcano in Iceland approached northwest Africa, the transport ministry said.
"The cloud of volcanic ash will reach part of Moroccan airspace in coming hours," the Equipment and Transport Ministry said in a statement. It said the closures were necessary "to ensure full security for passengers traveling this Tuesday".
It closed Morocco's main international hub of Casablanca and the capital Rabat from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (0700-1200 GMT) and shut Tangier, Tetouan and Essaouira airports from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. (0400-1200 GMT).
The cloud of abrasive ash already forced the closure of several airports in Spain over the weekend and further disruption was possible there in coming days.
Emissions from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano forced sweeping closures of European airspace last month, disrupting travel for millions of passengers and costing airlines more than a billion euros of revenues.
(Reporting by Tom Pfeiffer; Editing by Charles Dick)
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