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Trudeau: Canada has intelligence Iran shot down Ukrainian airliner

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(CNN) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that Canadian officials have intelligence from their own sources and Canada’s allies that shows Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752 was shot down by an Iranian surface to air missile. “This may have been unintentional,” Trudeau said at a press conference in Ottowa.

Trudeau has called for a thorough investigation into what caused the crash.

“The intelligence and evidence suggests that it’s a surface to air strike,” Trudeau added, though he would not provide additional details.

The US increasingly believes that Iran mistakenly shot down the airliner, according to multiple US officials. The working theory is based on continuing analysis of data from satellites, radar and electronic data collected routinely by US military and intelligence.

A US official familiar with the intelligence said the plane was shot down by two Russian made SA-15 surface to air missiles. The US saw Iranian radar signals lock onto the jetliner, before it was shot down.

The morning after the incident, US analysts discovered the data but took another day to verify, the official said.

President Donald Trump on Thursday said he suspected the crash was not due to mechanical issues, indicating that “somebody could have made a mistake on the other side.”

Asked during a White House event what he thought happened to the plane, Trump said, “Well, I have my suspicions.”

European security officials told CNN they believe reports suggesting that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface to air missile in error are credible.

The timing of the crash has fueled speculation about its cause, coming just hours after Iran fired missiles at two Iraqi bases housing US troops in retaliation for the killing of its top general, also in Iraq. The exchange of attacks between Tehran and Washington on Iraqi soil was a dramatic escalation of tensions between the adversaries, and is raising fears of another proxy war in the Middle East.

The head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Authority is questioning the US allegation.

Speaking to CNN, Ali Abedzadeh said, “if a rocket or missile hits a plane, it will free fall.”

Abedzadeh asked, “How can a plane be hit by rocket or missile” and then the pilot “try to turn back to the airport?”

He also told CNN the plane’s black boxes are damaged and Iran may need help decoding them.

“Generally speaking, Iran has the potential and know-how to decode the black box. Everybody knows that,” Abedzadeh said.

However, he also added that, “the black box of this very Ukrainian Boeing 737 is damaged. Ukrainian Aviation experts arrived here in Tehran today. We had a session with them. From tomorrow they will start decoding the data.”

“If the available equipment is not enough to get the content” Iran will outsource the boxes to “the experts from France or Canada,” Abedzadeh said.

Newsweek was first to report US and Iraqi sources believe Iran shot down the plane by mistake.

“I don’t want to say that because other people have their suspicions,” Trump said, but added, “Somebody could have made a mistake on the other side … not our system. It has nothing to do with us.”

“It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood. They could’ve made a mistake. Some people say it was mechanical. I personally don’t think that’s even a question.”

Asked if he thought it was downed by accident, Trump said, “I don’t know. I really don’t know … that’s up to them. At some point they’ll release the black box.”

“Ideally they’d give it to Boeing,” he said, but said giving it to France or “some other country” would be fine, too.

“Something very terrible happened, very devastating,” he concluded.

The Ukrainian International Airlines (UIA) flight PS752 came down just minutes after takeoff from Tehran on Wednesday local time, killing all 176 people on board, including dozens of Iranians and Canadians. The Boeing 737-800 was headed for Kiev, where 138 passengers were expected to take a connecting flight to Canada. Ukrainians, Swedes, Afghans, Germans and British nationals were also aboard.

One possibility being considered is that an Iranian missile unit saw something on their radar, thought they were under attack and fired.

“If it is true that an Iranian missile brought down a civilian airliner, it points to exactly the sort of miscalculation and recklessness that attends the cycle of escalation and violence we’ve been seeing in the region. The innocent people killed in this tragedy would then, sadly, not be the only victims. Iran must fully cooperate with investigators and be willing to account for their actions,” CNN national security analyst retired Adm. John Kirby said.

Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization head, Ali Abedzadeh, said it would not hand the flight data recorders to Boeing or the United States after they were found on Wednesday.

One of the officials said the US is working closely with the Canadians on the intelligence. US officials have also shared officials with UK officials, according to sources familiar.

Ukrainian officials on Thursday were considering terrorism, a missile strike and catastrophic engine failure as potential causes for the crash, as aviation authorities in Tehran said the jetliner was on fire before it came down.

Ukraine’s National Security and Defense council chief, Oleksiy Danilov, said a meeting was taking place with Iranian authorities, where various causes behind the crash were “being studied,” including a theory that the plane was hit by an anti-aircraft missile, according to a statement on Facebook.

Conflicting claims about potential causes for the disaster began hours after the crash, when Iranian state media blamed technical issues and Ukraine ruled out rocket attacks. Within hours on Wednesday, officials in both countries had walked back those initial statements.

An initial report by the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization on the crash cites witnesses as saying the airliner was on fire while in the air and changed directions after a problem, turning back toward the airport. People on other aircraft at higher altitudes also saw the flames, Iranian officials say. Images of the wreckage show the plane torn to piece, its parts charred and strewn across a field.

National & World / News

CNN

Comments

21 Comments

      1. You do know that Pelosi is the one holding onto impeachment? If this was being done as a distraction, why has President Trump stated he wants a trial in the senate? He wants to drag all of the democrats who were in on this skam Ukranian whistle blower call and have their footprints in Ukraine doing dirty business (pelosi, Schiff, Biden and probably more) and have them exposed.

        1. Your creative reading between the lines about Pelosi and impeachment really has nothing to do with the article. I know trying to stick to the subject at hand is probably as difficult for you as it is for IMPOTUS, but maybe you could try just a little bit harder next time.

        2. It’s really ironic. The Dems were the ones that wanted impeachment so badly that they have wasted over three years and millions of dollars trying to pull it off, and now that reality has set in, they are the ones that are hoping everyone will forget about it and move on to something else…Trump is encouraging, almost begging for the trial to start so he can be exonerated, and all of the crooked Dems can be publicly humiliated and hopefully prosecuted for being lying crooks. The first true tell tale sign was when Biden stopped running his mouth, and miraculously stopped being in the news numerous times every day, after his lowlife son was called out, and it became very apparent that Chimo Joe was also involved in the Ukraine corruption while still in office.

  1. Damm we hate American so bad we will shoot down an “AMERICAN” made plane full of our own people.

    That said Iran government BAD. Most Iran people good, sad that there are always a few to screw it up for every else.

  2. I knew it was shot down as soon as I heard about it. we took out a gen. then they made a counter strike, someone mistakes a plane for an incoming volley

  3. “Abedzadeh asked, “How can a plane be hit by rocket or missile” and then the pilot “try to turn back to the airport?” Most Anti air missiles have a small warhead. Anti air missiles are designed to take out fast moving targets by means of making small holes in the target. At speed these small holes disrupt airflow and that tears the target apart very quickly and it crashes. This airplane was taking off so was most likely close to 200 mph or less. The missile also probably targeted one of the engines. It may have even blown it off the aircraft while making other small holes about the aircraft. Due to the large size of the air craft the pilots still had some control before fire, or damage brought down the aircraft. Sort of like being shoot, the bullet does not blow up the body. You may not die right way. You may have time to point and say he did it before you die.

    You may ask how I know this information. It’s from 6 years in the Navy as a Fire Control Tech on a guided missile cruiser.

    FC1SW USS Biddle CG-34

  4. Only thing that we’ll know for sure is that yet another republican president kicked the hornets nest again. Democrats need to up their game on getting us into wars, ZERO since JFK!

    1. And how many drone strikes did Obama do during his 8 year term? How many innocents were killed?

      The left now blaming President Trump for something the Iranians did is so over the top crazy. No wonder people are leaving the democrat party in droves!

  5. I told you so Barney! Iranians are not nice people and they outright lie! They are not our friends and President Trump did the right think by taking out Solimani. Liberal media needs to start reporting the truth and not trying to make us think this terrorist was a good person!

    1. Any adventure motorcyclist will tell you: Iranians are perfectly friendly people. Almost all people on this planet are perfectly friendly people.

      In any country, you have basically three groups:

      1. Leadership
      2. Jingoists and other extremists
      3. Everyone else who is totally friendly and reasonable and doesn’t care for the BS

      The problem is that everyone in group 2 doesn’t thinks group 3 is the minority. And that group 1 only panders to group 2.

  6. Some libs have gone from praising Iran for its restraint in order to take credit away from Trump-

    To shifting blame for blowing a civilian airliner out of the sky with a missile from Iran onto Trump

    It’s almost like these people are insane and nobody should listen to them

  7. With IMPOTUS’s habitual lies I’ll take Canadian intelligence over what comes out of the administration any day. That being said, I’ll wait to make final judgement until more information is forthcoming.

  8. Justin “blackface is fine as long as you’re a progressive” Trudeau is a Russian asset trying to drag Canada in to a conflict with Iran. The mullahs said Iran has nothing to do with it. Justin “blackface is fine as long as you’re a progressive” Trudeau must be condemned for his rhetoric inflaming the peace loving Iranian government.

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