Highlights

  • Video appears that shows a missile hitting an object over Tehran
  • US officials believe Iran mistakenly shot down the plane
  • Canadian and British prime ministers believe so too
  • Iran denies the claim
  • 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians died in the crash

Indications have emerged that Iran may have mistakenly shot down the Ukrainian airliner that claimed all 176 lives on board.

According to US officials, Iran mistakenly shot the Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed on Wednesday.

“U.S. intelligence picked up signals of the radar being turned on and satellite detected infrared blips of two missile launches, probably SA-15s, followed shortly by another infrared blip of an explosion”, CBS News reports.

CNN has also broadcast a video that shows a missile hitting an object over Tehran, the Iranian capital.

The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s airport.

Bizarre coincidence

The incident occurred after Iran launched missiles that hit two air bases of US forces in Iraq, in response to the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, leader of Iran’s Elite Quds Force, by a US drone strike last week.

Responding, Iran’s civil aviation authority said the assertion by the US “is not true.” The head of the aviation authority argued that the plane would have fallen differently if hit by a missile.

Probe

Iran has however consented to a probe of the crash by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and its Canadian counterpart, along with Iranian investigators and experts from Boeing, the manufacturer of the passenger jet.

Ukraine has dispatched 45 experts to Tehran to probe the crash. Investigators will also be looking at the possibility of a terror attack, engine failure or that the plane collided with an object like a drone in the sky.

Reactions

Trump

US President Donald Trump has expressed his suspicions about the cause of the crash. Trump said the aircraft “was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood, and somebody could have made a mistake.”

“I had my suspicions. I don’t want to say that because other people have their suspicions also,” Trump said when he was asked about the incident at the White House on Thursday.

“It’s a tragic thing when I see that. It’s a tragic thing, but somebody could have made a mistake on the other side. Some people say it was mechanical. I personally don’t think that’s even a question.”

Trudeau

Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minster, said at a press conference on Thursday that evidence indicates the Ukranian jetliner was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.

“We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence. This may well have been unintentional,” he said.

Of the 176 people who were killed in the crash, at least 63 were Canadians.

“Canadians have questions, and they deserve answers,” the prime minister concluded.

 

Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “there is a body of information to suggest an Iranian surface-to-air missile brought down the Ukrainian passenger plane”.

Four Britons were among the 176 people who died in the crash shortly after take-off on Wednesday, the PM added.

82 Iranian citizens, 63 Canadians, and 11 Ukrainians were killed in the crash, as well as citizens from Sweden, Afghanistan, Germany, and the UK, according to Ukraine’s foreign minister.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has appealed to the US, Britain and Canada to make available any evidence that would help the investigators.

Tension

Meanwhile, relations between the U.S. and Iran remain tense amid efforts to de-escalate hostilities.

Two missiles landed in the Green Zone in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, shortly after Trump said his administration wanted peace on Wednesday. The Green Zone houses government buildings and foreign missions, including the US embassy.

NP

 

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