The Ukrainian flight that crashed just outside the Iranian capital of Tehran was struck by an anti-aircraft missile system, a Pentagon official, a senior U.S. intelligence official and an Iraqi intelligence official told Newsweek.
Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, a Boeing 737–800 en route from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airpot to Kyiv's Boryspil International Airport, stopped transmitting data Tuesday just minutes after takeoff and not long after Iran launched missiles at military bases housing U.S. and allied forces in neighboring Iraq. The aircraft is believed to have been struck by a Russia-built Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile system, known to NATO as Gauntlet, the three officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, told Newsweek.
One Pentagon and one U.S. senior intelligence official told Newsweek that the Pentagon's assessment is that the incident was accidental. Iran's anti-aircraft systems were likely active following the country's missile attack, which came in response to the U.S. killing last week of Revolutionary Guard Quds Force commander Major General Qassem Soleimani, sources said.
"Well, I have my suspicions," President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House following Newsweek's report. "It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood and someone could have made a mistake."
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U.S. Central Command declined to comment on the matter when contacted by Newsweek. The National Security Council and the State Department have not yet responded.
Of the 176 people on board, 82 were Iranian, 63 were Canadian and 11 were Ukrainian (including nine crewmembers), along with 10 Swedish, seven Afghan and three German nationals. None survived.
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