TEHRAN: Iran’s military has admitted that it shot down the Ukrainian passenger aircraft saying that the attack was “unintentionally” and it happened because of human error.
The statement said, it had done so as the plane flew close to a sensitive site belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. It said those responsible would be held accountable.
Iran had previously rejected suggestions that one of its missiles brought down the plane near the capital.
Since Britain and Canada had referred to what they said were signs of an imminent missile strike, the announcement at a press conference in the Iranian capital arrived.
“One thing is for certain, this airplane was not hit by a missile,” Iran’s civil aviation chief Ali Abedzadeh had said earlier.
The Boeing 737 had crashed on Jan 8 following the killing of a top Iranian general in a US drone strike in Baghdad, shortly after Tehran launched missiles at US forces in Iraq.
It was the worst civil aviation tragedy in Iran since 1988 when the US military had said it was wrong to shoot down an Iran Air plane, killing all 290 people on board.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had said on Jan 9 that multiple sources of intelligence had indicated that Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 had been downed by an Iranian missile after it had taken off Tehran.
According to U.S. media reports on Jan 9, U.S. officials believed that Iran accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airline and killed all the 176 people on board.
Multiple media sources had quoted unidentified officials saying they were increasingly confident that the aircraft was mistakenly downed by Iranian air defense systems based on satellite, radar and electronic data.
According to Press TV, Iran’s civil aviation authorities had called the media reports “illogical rumors.”