US officials confident that Iran shot down Ukraine plane, killing 176 on board
Washington, Jan 10: US officials on Thursday are confident that Iran air defences had 'accidentally' shot down the Ukraine airliner that crashed in Iran, killing all 176 people aboard.
One US official said US satellites had detected the launch of two missiles shortly before the plane crashed, followed by evidence of an explosion.
Two officials said Washington believed the downing of the plane was accidental.
The plane was shot down hours after Iran shot missiles at Iraqi airbases housing American troops. Iran launched the initial missiles in retaliation for the US killing of terrorist military leader Qasem Soleimani.
However, Iranian authorities have said a Ukrainian airliner had turned back after suffering a problem, as Ukrainian experts joined the investigation on Thursday.
Both Canada and the United States called for a full investigation to determine the cause of Wednesday's crash, which came shortly after Tehran launched missiles at US forces in Iraq in response to the killing of a top Iranian general in a US drone strike in Baghdad.
There was no immediate indication that foul play may have caused the Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) plane to go down soon after take-off, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned against speculating on the crash causes.