World Middle East 11 Jan 2020 Khamenei offers symp ...

Khamenei offers sympathies to families of Ukraine crash victims

AP
Published Jan 11, 2020, 3:36 pm IST
Updated Jan 11, 2020, 3:36 pm IST
Khamenei expressed his ‘deep sympathy’ to families of the crash victims, and sought a probe into the incident
File photo shows debris at the scene where a Ukrainian plane crashed in Shahedshahr southwest of Tehran, Iran. AP photo
 File photo shows debris at the scene where a Ukrainian plane crashed in Shahedshahr southwest of Tehran, Iran. AP photo

Tehran: Iran’s supreme leader has offered condolences and called for an investigation after his country’s armed forces acknowledged that they accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday expressed his “deep sympathy” to the families of the 176 victims, and called on the armed forces to “pursue probable shortcomings and guilt in the painful incident.”

 

Iran shot down the passenger plane after it took off from Tehran, amid heightened tensions stemming from the US airstrike that killed Iran’s top general. The military says it mistook the plane for a hostile target after launching a ballistic missile attack on two bases housing US troops in Iraq.

Iran on Saturday acknowledged that its armed forces “unintentionally” shot down the Ukrainian jetliner that crashed earlier this week, killing all 176 aboard, after the government had repeatedly denied Western accusations that it was responsible.

The plane was shot down early Wednesday, hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on two military bases housing US troops in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an American airstrike in Baghdad. No one was wounded in the attack on the bases.

The majority of the plane crash victims were Iranians or Iranian-Canadians. Iranian officials had repeatedly ruled out a missile strike, dismissing such allegations as Western propaganda that officials said was offensive to the victims.

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