2 Officers said on thursday that it may be highly doubt that an Iranian anti-aircraft missile downed a Ukrainian jetliner late Tuesday and killed 176 passengers travelling in it.
The crash came just a few hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack against Iraqi military bases housing US troops amid a confrontation with Washington over the US drone strike that killed an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general last week. The officers, citing US intelligence, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information. They had no immediate information on intent.
President Donald Trump suggested that he believes Iran was responsible and wouldn’t directly lay the blame on Iran, but dismissed their claims that it was a mechanical issue – and denied any US responsibility.
“Somebody could have made a mistake on the other side,” President Donald Trump said, noting the plane was flying in a “pretty rough neighbourhood”.
Trump added, “Some people say it was mechanical but I personally don’t think that’s even a question.”
The crew of a Ukrainian jetliner that crashed in Iran, killing all 176 people on board, never made a radio call for help and was trying to turn back for the airport when the burning plane went down, an initial Iranian investigative report said Thursday. Meanwhile, Ukraine also said it considered a missile strike as one of several possible theories for the crash, despite Iran’s denials.
The Iranian report suggests that a sudden emergency struck the Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines early on Wednesday morning, when it crashed, just minutes after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran.
Investigators from Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization offered no immediate explanation for the disaster, however. Iranian officials initially blamed a technical malfunction for the crash, something initially backed by Ukrainian officials before they said they wouldn’t speculate amid an ongoing investigation.