TEHRAN: Iran’s armed forces said Saturday they unintentionally shot down the Ukrainian airliner that crashed this week blaming “human error”.
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 IRNA 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.
Officials said that the jet 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, and said it would upgrade its systems to prevent such “mistakes” in the future.
The military statement, which was read out on state TV, also said that the people responsible would be held accountable, and expressed condolences to the victims’ families.
Also read: Iran says US suspecting Tehran shot Ukraine plane by mistake makes ‘no sense’
Following the statement, the country’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, tweeted saying that the crash was caused by human error, but ultimately blamed “US adventurism”.
Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster
Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations.
Mr Zarif also sent condolences to the families of the victims.
“A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces: Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations,” he said.