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Iran denied Ukraine airliner hit by missile

10:59 | 10/01/2020

Iran denied that the Ukraine airliner that crashed in Iran, killing all 176 people aboard, had been hit by a missile, government spokesman Ali Rabiei said in a statement.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on Jan 9, 2020 in Ottawa, Canada.. (Photo: AFP/Dave Chan)

According to Reuters, Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau told a news conference in Ottawa on Jan 9 that the airliner, was likely brought down by an Iranian missile, citing intelligence from Canadian and other sources.

The destruction of the airliner "may well have been unintentional," he added.

"We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence. The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile," he said.

The crash of the Ukraine International Airlines plane occurred shortly after Iran fired ballistic missiles at two US military bases in Iraq, and Iranians were on high alert for a US military response.

Earlier, a US official, citing an extensive review of satellite data, said Washington had concluded with a high degree of certainty that anti-aircraft missiles brought down the plane. The official said the Boeing 737-800 had been tracked by Iranian radar.

Washington believed the plane was most likely brought down accidentally, two US officials said.

The data showed the plane was airborne for two minutes after departing Tehran when the heat signatures of two surface-to-air missiles were detected, one of the officials said.

That was quickly followed by an explosion in the vicinity of the plane, this official said. Heat signature data then showed it on fire as it went down.

Iran denied that the airliner had been hit by a missile, government spokesman Ali Rabiei said in a statement.

"All these reports are a psychological warfare against Iran ... 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," he said.

Iran's head of civil aviation denied reports that Iran was to blame as "illogical rumours."

"Scientifically, it is impossible that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane, and such rumours are illogical," the semi-official ISNA News Agency quoted Ali Abedzadeh as saying.

"We are calling on the Canadian Prime Minister and any other government that has information about the crash to hand it over to the investigation committee in Iran," foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

iran denied ukraine airliner hit by missile

Before that, an initial report by Iran's civil aviation organisation cited witnesses on the ground and in a passing aircraft flying at high altitude as saying the jet was on fire while still aloft.

The three-year-old Boeing jet, which had its last scheduled maintenance on Jan 6, encountered a technical problem shortly after take-off and started to head towards a nearby airport before it crashed, the report said.

The technical problem was not specified in the report, which also said that there was no radio communication from the pilot and that the aircraft disappeared from radar at 2,440m.

Before that, the jet took off from the Tehran airport at 6.12am (local time) and was given permission to climb to 26,000 feet, the report said. It crashed six minutes later near the town of Sabashahr.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, US President Donald Trump said he had a terrible feeling about the downed airliner, but offered no details. He said he did not believe it was a mechanical issue.

The US Federal Aviation Administration had banned US carriers from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, the Gulf of Oman and the waters between Iran and Saudi Arabia in the hours after Iran's attack on US-led forces in Iraq. Several other airlines also diverted flights./.

VNF/Reuters