news

Canada, UK, US, Iraqi intelligence say Ukrainian flight was hit by anti-aircraft missile



Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says evidence indicates that the Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed near Tehran was shot down by an Iranian missile. He said it may have been "unintentional."

Citing “multiple” intelligence sources, Trudeau's comments was in line with unidentified U.S. officials said they were confident that Iranian air-defense systems accidentally downed the Boeing 737-800, based on satellite, radar, and electronic data, U.S. media reported on January 9.

Calling for a thorough investigation into what caused the crash, Trudeau said Thursday his country has intelligence from their own sources and allies that suggests a Ukrainian airliner was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.

Tehran ruled out a missile strike as the cause of the crash, saying such a scenario makes “no sense.”

The Ukrainian plane that crashed near Tehran airport in the early hours of Wednesday morning was hit by an anti-aircraft missile, a Pentagon official, a senior US intelligence official and an Iraqi intelligence official have told Newsweek.

Pentagon officials said that they believed that Iran shot down the aircraft by mistake using Russian-made surface-to-air missiles, Fox News reported.

The U.S. working theory is based on continuing analysis of data from satellites, radar and electronic data collected routinely by US military and intelligence. A US official familiar with the intelligence said the plane was shot down by two Russian made SA-15 surface to air missiles. The US saw Iranian radar signals lock onto the jetliner, before it was shot down.

One US official said US satellites had detected the launch of two missiles shortly before the plane crashed, followed by evidence of an explosion. Two officials said Washington believed the downing of the plane was accidental.

Both Britain and Canada said they had seen evidence in support of the claim.
The Pentagon declined to comment.

Speaking at the White House, US President Donald Trump said that he thought "somebody had made a mistake," clarifying "not on our side," and that the plane had been flying in a "very rough neighborhood."

The head of Iran's Civil Aviation Authority dismissed the reports, calling them "illogical rumors". He added "it is impossible that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane."

Abedzadeh asked, "How can a plane be hit by rocket or missile" and then the pilot "try to turn back to the airport?"

He also told CNN the plane's black boxes are damaged and Iran may need help decoding them.
"Generally speaking, Iran has the potential and know-how to decode the black box. Everybody knows that," Abedzadeh said.

However, he also added that, "the black box of this very Ukrainian Boeing 737 is damaged. Ukrainian Aviation experts arrived here in Tehran today. We had a session with them. From tomorrow they will start decoding the data."

"If the available equipment is not enough to get the content" Iran will outsource the boxes to "the experts from France or Canada," Abedzadeh said.

The Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737-800, flying to Kiev and carrying mostly Iranians and Iranian-Canadians, crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran's Imam Khomeini airport.

The official investigation is being carried out by Iran, as the crash took place in Iranian airspace.

An intial report by Iran's civil aviation organization, released on Thursday, cited witnesses on the ground and in a passing aircraft flying at high altitude as saying the plane was on fire while still aloft.

Ukraine outlined four potential scenarios on Thursday to explain the deadly crash of one of its airliners in Iran, including a missile strike and terrorism, as Iranian investigators said the plane was on fire before it fell to the ground.

Kiev said its investigators wanted to search the site of Wednesday's crash southwest of Tehran for possible debris of a Russian-made missile used by Iran's military. An initial report by Iran's civil aviation organization said the plane had experienced an unspecified technical problem.

The Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737-800, flying to Kiev and carrying mostly Iranians and Iranian-Canadians, crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran's Imam Khomeini airport, killing all 176 people on board.

The Iranian report cited witnesses on the ground and in a passing aircraft flying at a high altitude as saying the plane was on fire while in the air.

It said the three-year-old airliner, which had its last scheduled maintenance on Monday, encountered a technical problem shortly after take-off and started to head toward a nearby airport before it crashed. The report said there was no radio communication from the pilot and that the aircraft disappeared from radar at 8,000 feet (2,440 m).

It is so far unclear if any technical issue could be related to a maintenance fault or defective part.

The disaster puts a renewed spotlight on Boeing, which faces a safety crisis over a different type of 737, though the plane that crashed in Iran does not have the feature thought to have caused crashes of the grounded 737 MAX.

The Iranian report referred to the crash as an accident.

Investigations into airliner crashes are complex, requiring regulators, experts and companies across several international jurisdictions to work together. It can take months to fully determine the cause and issuing an initial report within 24 hours is rare.

A Canadian security source told Reuters there was evidence one of the engines had overheated.

The crash happened hours after Iran launched missile attacks on U.S.-led forces in Iraq, leading some to speculate that the plane may have been hit.

The initial assessment of Western intelligence agencies was that the plane had suffered a technical malfunction and had not been brought down by a missile, five security sources - three Americans, one European and the Canadian - who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

Asked if he thought it was downed by accident, Trump said, "I don't know. I really don't know ... that's up to them. At some point they'll release the black box."

"Ideally they'd give it to Boeing," he said, but said giving it to France or "some other country" would be fine, too.

"Something very terrible happened, very devastating," he concluded.

UKRAINIAN THEORIES


Ukraine Security Council Secretary Oleksiy Danylov said the country's investigators wanted to search for possible Russian missile debris after seeing information on the internet.

He referred to an unverified image circulated on Iranian social media purportedly showing the debris of a Russian-made Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile of the kind used by the Iranian military.

Ukrainian investigators into the crash include experts who participated in the investigation into the 2014 shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, Danylov said.

The Malaysian airliner was shot down on July 17, 2014, over territory held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine as it was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people on board.

In a televised statement, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy earlier asked people to refrain from speculation, conspiracy theories and hasty evaluations regarding the crash. He declared Thursday a day of national mourning.


Zelenskiy had spoken with the Iranian president who had assured him Ukrainian experts would have full access to the investigation, Zelenskiy's office said.


"Hassan Rouhani stressed that Iran would provide the Ukrainian expert group with prompt access to all the necessary data," it said in a statement.


Ukraine is looking at various possible causes, including a missile attack, a collision, an engine explosion or terrorism.

Countries recognized under a UN-administered convention as participants should nominate who they wish to be involved in the Iran-led investigation, the Iranian report said.

Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne called his Iranian counterpart to stress the need for Canadian officials "to be quickly granted access to Iran to provide consular services, help with identification of the deceased and take part in the investigation of the crash," a Canadian statement said.

"Canada and Canadians have many questions which will need to be answered."

Britain wanted a transparent investigation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman said on Thursday following a call between the British leader and Zelenskiy.

"The prime minister said that there needed to be a full credible and transparent investigation into what happened," the spokesman said.

As the country where the plane was designed and built, the United States would usually be allowed to be accredited but neither side has said whether U.S. investigators will be dispatched to Iran.

Iran's aviation body could not be reached for comment to clarify its position.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have risen with the United States' killing of a top Iranian general on Friday. Tehran retaliated with a missile strike on U.S. targets in Iraq.

The Ukrainian airliner took off at 6:12 a.m. local time and was given permission to climb to 26,000 feet, the report said. It crashed six minutes later near the town of Sabashahr.

Bodies and body parts recovered from the site of the crash have been taken to the coroner's office for identification, the report said.

Smoldering debris, including shoes and clothes, was strewn across a field where the plane crashed. Rescue workers in face masks laid out scores of body bags.

Onboard were 146 Iranians, 10 Afghans, 11 Ukrainians, five Canadians and four Swedes, the report said, but said some may have held citizenship of other countries.

Ukrainian authorities have said those on board included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, and 11 Ukrainians.

The Tehran-Toronto via Kiev route was a popular for Canadians of Iranian descent visiting Iran in the absence of direct flights.

Air France Says Suspends Flying Through Iran And Iraq Airspace

Additional Source

No comments

Poster Speaks

Poster Speaks/box

Trending

randomposts