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Iran “accidentally” shot down Ukrainian airplane

11th Jan 2020
Iran “accidentally” shot down Ukrainian airplane

By Burak Bir, Faruk Zorlu

 

(AA): Iran’s General Staff of the Armed Forces said Saturday that a Ukrainian aircraft was “accidentally” hit by an Iranian missile early this week that killed 176 people on board.

In a written statement, the top military authority said as a result of a “human error”, the plane was accidentally shot down by the air defense system while it was passing over a “sensitive military point”.

Iran was on the alert to possible the U.S. threats to attack on many points in Iran after launching a dozen ballistic missiles targeting the U.S. troops in Iraq, it noted.

Under these sensitive and crisis conditions, the plane approached a delicate military center of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and its height and stance seemed to be hostile, it said.

The plane in question was unintentionally targeted under these conditions, it added.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the top authority in the Islamic Republic, was informed about the accidental shooting down of the Ukrainian airliner on Friday and said information should be publicly announced after a meeting of Iran’s top security body, the semi-official Fars news agency said in a tweet.

“Armed Forces’ internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane & death of 176 innocent people,” President Hassan Rouhani said on Twitter.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake. My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences,” Rouhani said.

The president stressed that “the terrible catastrophe should be thoroughly investigated, and those responsible for this unforgivable mistake will definitely be identified and prosecuted”.

“Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations,” said Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

“Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster,” he said on Twitter.

The Fars News Agency said Friday the cause of the crash would be announced after a meeting of accident investigators, including experts from Iran and abroad.

The U.S., Britain, and Canada said Thursday they had evidence suggesting an Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down the Ukraine International Airlines passenger jet.

The Boeing 737-800 crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport just hours after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles targeting the U.S. troops in Iraq in retaliation for the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, the head of the IRGC’s Quds Force, outside Baghdad International Airport in a drone strike.

The fatalities include Iranians, Canadians, Ukrainians, Swedes, Afghans, Germans and British citizens.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: Pieces of the plane are seen at site after a Boeing 737 plane belonging to Ukrainian International Airlines crashed near Imam Khomeini Airport in Iran just after takeoff with 180 passengers on board in Tehran, Iran on January 08, 2020.  Photographer:  Muhabiri Fatemeh Bahrami/AA]

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