(Edited from AP, Morocco) Volcanic ash from Iceland wound its way south to North Africa and curled eastward on Tuesday, forcing authorities for the first time to shut down airports in Morocco, as well as in Spain and, briefly, in Turkey.

(Edited from AP, Morocco) Volcanic ash from Iceland wound its way south to North Africa and curled eastward on Tuesday, forcing authorities for the first time to shut down airports in Morocco, as well as in Spain and, briefly, in Turkey.

A Transport Ministry statement carried by the official MAP news agency said it wants “to guarantee a maximum level of security for passengers” as the ash cloud passes over the kingdom on the Atlantic Coast.

Airports in Morocco, on the African continent and some 3,780 kilometers (2,350 miles) from Iceland, were not affected last month when the April 14 eruption of the Eyjafjallajokul (pronounced ay-yah-FYAH-lah-yer-kuhl) volcano forced at least a five-day suspension of air traffic in Europe. This time, the ash pushed south, forcing even the small airport in the Moroccan town of Tan-Tan, just north of the Western Sahara territory, to close.

The ash also was causing havoc Tuesday in nearby Spain, forcing airports to shut down in the Canary Islands of Tenerife, La Palma and La Gomera, affecting dozens of tourist flights. On the Spanish mainland, airports at Seville and Jerez in the south and Badajoz in the east were closed.

Elsewhere, the dense ash in the middle of the North Atlantic – which caused severe flight disruptions over the weekend – was dispersing, easing the need to reroute trans-Atlantic flights around it and cutting down on delays, the Eurocontrol air traffic control agency reported.

Meteorologists say until the volcano in southern Iceland stops erupting, aviation in Europe will be heavily affected by how prevailing winds distribute the ash. The last time the same volcano erupted, the action went on from 1821 to 1823.

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