Pentagon, Iraqi officials: Ukrainian plane was struck by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile
BREAKING: The Ukrainian flight that crashed near Tehran was struck by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile, two Pentagon officials and an Iraqi official told Newsweek.
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 said.
Satellite detected infrared blips of two missile launches followed shortly by another infrared blip of an explosion.
Pentagon’s assessment is that the incident was accidental. Iran’s anti-aircraft were likely active following a series of coordinated Iranian missile attacks on US forces in Iraq, in retaliation for the elimination of arch-terrorist Qassem Soleimani.
A video has emerged on social media showing the moment an Iranian surface to air missile hit the Ukrainian Airlines PS572 flight on the outskirts of Tehran.
Three Brits, 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, 4 Afghans and 4 Germans were killed when the Ukrainian passenger plane was shot down near Tehran.
Initially, Ukraine’s embassy in Iran said that engine failure caused the plane to crash and denied that it was terror-related or that a rocket had hit the aircraft.
But it later withdrew this statement, saying that anything was possible, and Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky instructed prosecutors to open criminal proceedings over the crash.
Footage from the scene shows the Ukranian plane already burning in the sky before it crashed in a massive explosion.
Several major airlines are re-routing flights to avoid airspace over Iraq and Iran due to security risks.