The Ukrainian jetliner that crashed over Iran on Tuesday, killing 176 people, likely was struck by an anti-aircraft missile system, according to multiple reports.
Newsweek cites a Pentagon official, a senior U.S. intelligence official and an Iraqi intelligence official: “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 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.”
The Washington Post reported earlier Thursday that Ukrainian investigators are looking into whether the crash was caused by a missile attack: “The preliminary Iranian investigation cited witness accounts that the plane was burning and noted that the Ukraine International Airlines jet was turning back toward Tehran’s airport because of a ‘problem’ when it went down Wednesday. Ukrainian investigators said they were also looking into engine failure or a terrorist attack as possible causes of the crash. Several independent aviation experts have noted that, based on video and the wide debris field, it appeared that the Boeing 737 800 was breaking apart in the air.”
Asked what he thinks caused the crash, President Donald Trump said Thursday, “Somebody could have a mistake on the other side. It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood, and somebody could have made a mistake.”
The New York Times posted new video: “A small explosion occurred when a missile hit the plane, but the plane did not explode, the video showed.”