TEHRAN: Iranian armed forces on Saturday admitted that they unintentionally shot down the Ukrainian airliner that crashed this week and blamed “human error” for the mistake. The plane, which crashed on Wednesday killing all 176 people on board, was mistaken for a “hostile plane” and was hit while enemy threats were at the highest level, according to a press statement published by the official Iranian news agency.
All 176 people on board were killed when the jet crashed on Wednesday, hours after Iran launched ballistic missiles at two US bases in Iraq to avenge the killing of its top general in an American airstrike.
According to Iranian media, officials said that the plane had flown close to a “sensitive military centre” and was mistaken for a “hostile target”. The statement added that the military was at its “highest state of readiness” amid the US tensions.
It also said it would upgrade its systems to prevent such “mistakes” in the future. The military statement, which was read out on state TV, added that the people responsible would be held accountable, and expressed condolences to the victims’ families.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Saturday said his country “deeply regrets” the shooting down of a Ukrainian airliner, which he described as “a great tragedy & unforgivable mistake”.