TEHRAN: Iran has on Saturday announced that its military “unintentionally” shot down a Ukrainian airplane, killing all 176 people on board, according to state TV.
Iran in its statement termed the downing of the plane as “human error”.
A Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines, went down on the outskirts of Tehran during takeoff a few hours after Iran launched a barrage of missiles at US forces in Iraq.
Iran had denied for several days that a missile downed the aircraft. But then the US and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believed Iran shot it down.
The plane, en route to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, at least 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians.
Yesterday, Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, citing intelligence from Canadian and other sources had claimed that the plane was shot down by Iran.
Earlier, the US officials said that a Ukraine airliner was most likely brought down accidentally by Iranian air defenses.
One US official said US satellites had detected the launch of two missiles shortly before the plane crashed, followed by evidence of an explosion. Two officials had said Washington believed the downing of the plane was accidental.