World leaders say evidence shows jet was shot down – but Iran denies it

UK, US and Canadian officials say it is “highly likely” an Iranian missile accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing 176 people on board near Tehran.
They believe that the jet could have been hit by mistake on Wednesday amid rocket and missile launches throughout the region.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference: “We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence.

63 Canadians were killed in the crash.
“The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. This may well have been unintentional.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian leader Scott Morrison also offered similar statements.

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Offering his assessment in a news conference, US President Donald Trump said: “I have my suspicions – I don’t want to say that because other people have those suspicions also. It’s a tragic thing.

“But somebody could’ve made a mistake on the other side… some people think it was mechanical. I don’t think that’s even a question, personally.”

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Early on Friday morning, the UK updated its travel advice for Iran, advising against all travel to the country.
Downing Street said that four of the 176 victims were British nationals.

Image: A plane engine was discovered among the debris
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has called for an “independent, full and transparent” investigation to determine what caused the passenger jet crash.
He said in a statement: “Given the body of information that UIA Flight 752 was shot down by an Iranian Surface to Air Missile, and the heightened tensions, we are now advising British nationals not to travel to Iran. We also recommend against taking a flight to, from and within Iran.
“We urgently need a full and transparent investigation to establish what caused the crash.
“Our thoughts are with the families of the victims, including the four British national who lost their lives”.

This is believed to be the moment a Ukrainian passenger plane came down in Iran
Iran denies the accusations, with government spokesman Ali Rabiei describing it as a “psychological warfare against Iran”, according to state TV.
He added: “All those countries whose citizens were aboard the plane can send representatives and we urge Boeing to send its representative to join the process of investigating the black box.”
Fears were sparked by a Ukrainian official, who raised the prospect of the jet possibly having been targeted by an anti-aircraft missile.

Trump has ‘suspicions’ over downed Iran plane
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s Security Council, told Ukrainian media that officials had four working theories regarding the crash, including a missile strike.
Ukrainian investigators have arrived in Iran and are awaiting permission to examine the crash site and look for missile fragments.
“A strike by a missile, possibly a Tor missile system, is among the main (theories), as information has surfaced on the internet about elements of a missile being found near the site of the crash,” Mr Danilov said.

Image: Rescue teams work amidst debris after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport
Newsweek said a Pentagon official, a senior US intelligence official and an Iraqi intelligence official confirmed Mr Danilov’s comments, but the Pentagon has not yet publicly commented.
Mr Danilov said the three other possible causes under consideration include a drone or “other flying object” crashing into the plane mid-air, an explosion on the plane “as a result of a terrorist attack” or an engine malfunction causing the engine to explode.
A preliminary report by Iran’s civil aviation authority, published on Thursday, said the crew did not make a radio call for help and were trying to turn back when it came down just outside Tehran airport.

Investigators also said that the plane was engulfed in fire before it crashed.
The crash caused a massive explosion when the plane hit the ground, likely because the aircraft had been fully loaded with fuel for the flight to the Ukrainian capital Kiev, the report said.
It also confirmed that both of the black boxes that contain data and cockpit communications had been recovered, though they had been damaged and some data was lost.
Ukraine has requested the UK’s help in the crash investigation.

Source : Sky News