The Ukrainian passenger jet that crashed after takeoff from Tehran was downed due to “human error” after it flew too close to a military site and triggered a missile launch amid a standoff with the US, the Iranian Army said.
The Army General Staff stressed that the tragic mistake was made amid the flare-up of tensions with Washington.
The nation’s air defenses were placed on alert and ready to “respond to possible threats of the highest level,” after US President Donald Trump warned that the Pentagon would strike targets on Iranian soil if US citizens or assets were attacked by Iran.
On Wednesday, the Iranian Army fired a volley of ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq that house American troops. It was a retaliation in response to a US drone strike, which killed top Iranian military chief Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad’s airport.
For several hours after the missile attacks, the army was detecting increased activity of US warplanes around the country and received alerts of possible airstrikes on “strategic sites” across Iran, the General Staff said.
The Kiev-bound Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, which took off from Tehran’s airport the same day, was approaching “an important military site” of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), while traveling at the altitude of a “hostile flight,” the statement noted.
Under these circumstances, the aircraft was accidentally shot down due to a human error.
The General Staff said that a further investigation will determine all the causes of the incident and those responsible would face consequences.
All 176 people on board the airliner were killed in the crash. Most of the victims were Iranian and Canadian nationals.