Iran’s military admitted it “unintentionally” shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane thours after the country had launched ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases hosting U.S. troops, Iranian state TV reported.
State TV cited a military statement, The Associated Press reported. The statement blamed “human error."
Based on a preliminary conclusion by the armed forces, "human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster, "Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif tweeted.
"Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations," Zarif wrote.
Iran had previously denied shooting down the Ukraine International Airlines that had left Tehran on Wednesday morning. All 176 people aboard were killed.
U.S. intelligence officials have evidence that the Boeing 737 was shot down by an Iranian missile by mistake, multiple officials have said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said that his country had evidence it was shot down.
He said Canadian officials had intelligence from multiple sources, including allies as well as Canada's own intelligence, and "the evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile." Trudeau said then that it could have been unintentional.
Sixty-three Canadians were among those killed, Ukraine’s foreign ministry has said. Also on board were 82 Iranians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 people from Sweden, four from Afghanistan, three Germans and three from the United Kingdom.
The crash came hours after Iran launched ballistic missiles against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq as retaliation for the killing of a top Iranian general by a U.S. airstrike. There were no casualties from the ballistic missile strikes, authorities have said.
The passenger plane was headed from Tehran to Kyiv, Ukraine, where most passengers — more than 130 — were going to change planes to head to Canada, Trudeau has said.
Among those killed was a 9-year-old girl who died along with her mother, husband and wife professors, and graduate students. The University of Alberta alone lost 10 people, who were professors, students and alumni.