Iran admits it shot down Ukrainian plane
Iran has announced that its military “unintentionally” shot down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176 on board.
The statement on Saturday morning blames “human error” for the incident, adding that the military mistook Flight 752 for a “hostile target”.
Press TV also quoted Iran’s General Staff of the Armed Forces as saying that the plane had flown close to a “sensitive military site”.
“In such a condition, because of human error and in a unintentional way, the flight was hit,” the military said. It apologised and said it would upgrade its systems to prevent future tragedies.
In a statement posted on social media, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wrote that the country “deeply regrets this disastrous mistake”.
“My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences,” he said, adding that “investigations continue to identify and prosecute this great tragedy and unforgivable mistake”.
Iran had denied for several days that a missile downed the aircraft. But then the US and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believe Iran shot down the aircraft.
On Friday, Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran’s civil aviation authority, said it was impossible due to close coordination between Iran’s air defence and the civil aviation department.
“What is obvious for us, and what we can say with certainty, is that no missile hit the plane,” Abedzadeh told reporters in Tehran.