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Ukraine plane crash: Iran says it ‘unintentionally’ shot down Ukrainian jetliner World News

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TEHRAN: Iran announced on Saturday that its “unintentional” army shot down the Ukrainian jetliner that crashed earlier this week,

killing the 176 on board
+
, after the government had repeatedly denied Western accusations that he was responsible.

The plane was shot down early on Wednesday, hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on two military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani in a US airstrike in Baghdad. No one was injured in the attack on the bases.

“Iran “deeply regrets” the accidental downing of the Ukrainian plane,” President Hassan Rouhani said Saturday.

“A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by the Armed Forces: Human error in times of crisis caused by American adventurism led to disaster,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet Saturday.

A military statement by state media said the plane was mistaken for a “hostile target” after it turned to a “sensitive military center” of the Revolutionary Guard. The military was at its “highest level of readiness,” he said, amid rising tensions with the United States.

“In such a condition, due to human error and unintentionally, the flight was reached,” the statement said. He apologized for the disaster and said he would update his systems to prevent such “mistakes” in the future.

He also said those responsible for the strike on the plane would be prosecuted.

The jetliner, a Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines, fell outside Tehran shortly after taking off from Imam Jomeini International Airport.

Iran had denied for several days that a missile caused the accident. But then the United States and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believed Iran shot down the plane.

The aircraft, en route to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, carried 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, at least 57 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians, according to officials. The Canadian government had previously reduced the nation’s death toll since 63.

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