Iran has said that its military “unintentionally” shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane, killing all 176 people on board.
Those on board included 82 Iranians, 57 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians as well as nationals from the UK, Germany, Sweden, and Afghanistan.
The country said this happened due to “human error” after the plane flew close to a sensitive site belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, according to Iran’s state TV.
Iran said the plane was mistaken for a “hostile target” and was hit by a missile, as the country’s military fired missiles at Iraqi bases housing US and other foreign troops.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, in a tweet, said the “horrific crash” of the aircraft was an “unforgivable mistake.”
The middle east country had earlier rejected suggestions that one of its missiles brought down the plane near the capital, Tehran, on Wednesday.
But pressure mounted after the US and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believed Iran had unintentionally shot down the plane with a missile.
Iran launched the missiles early Wednesday in response to the killing of senior Revolution Guards commander Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Iraq on 3 January.
“This morning, courageous fighters of the IRGC’s Air Force launched a successful operation called Operation Martyr Soleimani, with the code ‘Oh Zahra’ by firing tens of ground-to-ground missiles at the base of the terrorist and invasive U.S. forces,” the country’s state-run news outlet ISNA reported Wednesday.
Iranian state TV had said ‘tens’ of surface-to-surface missiles were launched by Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).