Citing a military statement, Iran state TV has revealed that the country “unintentionally” shot down a Ukrainian Airlines passenger jet on early Wednesday, killing all 176 people aboard, reports CBS.
Reportedly, the statement which was telecast by state TV on Saturday morning local time said that Iran has admitted its involvement in the plane crash. The general staff of Iran’s armed forces said that Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 was brought down due to human error. Iran targeted the passenger plane unintentionally, Press TV reported.
The admission comes after Iranian officials had vehemently denied claims that they mistakenly shot the jet and accused the United States of “spreading lies” about intelligence suggesting they did.
On Wednesday, a civilian aircraft carrying 180 people to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv had crashed a few minutes after taking off from the international airport of Tehran, Iran.
The Boeing 737-800 belonging to Ukrainian International Airlines took off from Imam Khomeini international airport at 6.12 AM Tehran time and went down about eight minutes later, according to flight-tracking websites. Of the 176 people killed in the crash, most were Iranian and Canadian nationals.
Earlier it was reported that the suggested the crash did not appear to have links to the missile strikes by Iran on US bases in Iraq. However, later it was speculated that the crash was linked to US-Iran tensions. Few conspiracy theories were also floating regarding nuclear tests and a targeted attack on the Ukranian jet by the Iranians.
Interestingly, a 4.9-magnitude earthquake struck Iran near the Bushehr nuclear plant on Wednesday raising suspicion on Iran conducting a nuclear test amidst the tensions in the middle east following Iranian missile strikes on Iraqi bases housing US troops.
The earthquake has occurred few hours after Iranian carried out missile strikes on Iraqi bases housing US-led coalition personnel. The Iranian offensive was retaliation for a US drone strike that killed Iran’s second most powerful figure, the Quds Force commander Major General Qasem Soleimani.