Thursday, July 18, 2024
 
 

Canada, US believe Iran accidentally shot down Ukraine plane

EPA-EFE/ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH
One of the engine of the plane lies among the wreckage after an Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 carrying 176 people crashed near Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran, killing everyone on board, in Shahriar, Iran, 08 January 2020.

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A Ukraine airliner that crashed in Iran, killing all 176 people on board, was most likely brought down accidentally by Iranian air defences, US officials said, despite Iran rejecting the conclusion as “impossible”.
The plane crashed minutes after takeoff from the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran on 8 January, hours after Iran launched missile attacks on US-led forces in Iraq, in retaliation for the US assassination of a top Iranian commander.
One US official said that US satellites had detected the launch of two missiles shortly before the plane crashed, followed by evidence of an explosion. US officials added Washington believed the downing of the plane was accidental.
“It is impossible that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane,” Iran’s head of civil aviation was quoted by Iran’s INSA news agency as saying. However, the country refused to give the black boxes back to Boeing, which raised further speculations that the plane might have been shot.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he had instructed his prosecutor general to open a criminal investigation into the crash. After Ukrainian experts joined the investigation on 9 January, the country’s authorities said that the airliner had turned back after suffering a problem.
“The plane, which was initially headed west to leave the airport zone, turned right following a problem and was headed back to the airport at the moment of the crash,” the Iranian civil aviation organisation said, and added that “according to eyewitnesses, a fire was seen on board the plane which grew in intensity”.
Canada has also called for a full investigation into the crash: “We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence. The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. This may well have been unintentional,” Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau said in a press conference.
Ukraine’s top security official, Oleksiy Danilov, said that the plane may have been brought down by a Russian-made missile: “It was flying in a pretty rough neighbourhood and somebody could have made a mistake,” he said, and added: “Some people say it was mechanical. I personally don’t think that’s even a question”.

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