US officials believe that Iran accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner, killing all of the 176 people on board, US media reported Thursday.
A Ukraine airliner crashed in Iran,Wednesday killing all 176 people on board, was most likely brought down accidentally by Iranian air defences, US officials say, a conclusion Iran dismissed as “impossible”.
The Ukrainian International airliner bound for the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, crashed minutes after takeoff from the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran on Wednesday amid escalating tensions between the United States and Iran.
Newsweek, CBS and CNN quoted officials saying they are increasingly confident that Iranian air defense systems accidentally downed the aircraft, based on satellite, radar and electronic data.
One US official told Reuters News Agency that US satellites had detected the launch of two missiles shortly before the plane crashed, followed by evidence of an explosion. Two officials said Washington believed the downing of the plane was accidental. Newsweek, CBS and the Associated Press news agency also reported the US officials’ assessments.
Also, US President Donald Trump said Thursday he had “suspicions” about the crash of a Ukrainian airliner outside Tehran as US media reported it had been mistakenly shot down by Iran.
“I have my suspicions,” Trump said. “It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood and somebody could have made a mistake.”
Trump’s remarks came as Newsweek, CBS and CNN reported that the plane had been accidentally shot down by Iranian air defense systems.
Also, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose country lost 63 citizens in the crash of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752, said Canada’s intelligence, as well as intelligence provided by allies, shows that the commercial aircraft was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. He called for a thorough investigation into what caused the crash but would not provide additional details about the evidence and intelligence he cited.
“This may have been unintentional,” Trudeau said at a news conference in Ottawa.
Not long after Trudeau’s news conference, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his country’s intelligence service had come to the same conclusion.
“There is now a body of information that the flight was shot down by an Iranian Surface to Air Missile. This may well have been unintentional. We are working closely with Canada and our international partners and there now needs to be a full, transparent investigation,” Johnson said in a statement.
“The UK continues to call on all sides urgently to deescalate to reduce tensions in the region,” he added.
Meanwhile, CNN has also obtained video on Thursday that appears to show a missile being fired into the Tehran sky and striking an object, around the same time that a Ukrainian plane crashed just after taking off from the city’s airport.