The Ukrainian airliner that crashed in Iran on Wednesday killing all 176 people on board was accidentally shot down by an anti-aircraft missile, a Pentagon official claims.
Russian made M1 anti-aircraft missile systems like the one now feared to have destroyed the plane are believed to have been activated following last Friday’s assassination of Iran’s top General Qasem Soleimani.
Unnamed senior Pentagon and US intelligence officials shared their allegations about the crash with Newsweek as Iran forbade American officials from getting involved with the investigation into the crash.
They spoke out a day after the Ukrainian Airlines flight 752 slammed into the ground moments after taking off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeni International Airport.
Iran has so far refused to release the contents of the Boeing 737-800’s black boxes. Any confirmation the plane was shot down likely to further stoke tensions between the Iranian regime and its enemies.
Iranian state TV released this image of the doomed plane’s black box, but have refused to let US officials investigate the crashIt has also been reported that the plane’s captain and first officer did not have time to issue any kind of distress call before the jet slammed into the ground.
US government officials have yet to release a statement confirming the shoot-down claims. The doomed plane, which was en route to Boryspil International Airport in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, had 82 Iranian people and 63 Canadians on board.
Other passengers killed were from Sweden, Afghanistan, Germany and the UK. The plane was shot down five days after Soleimani was blown up by a missile fired from a US Reaper drone as his car left Baghdad last Friday.
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