Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 is suspected to have been hit by fire from a Russian-built Tor M-1 (SA-15) surface-to-air missile system operated by the Iranian military, according to multiple reports.
Pentagon officials told Newsweek that the incident is believed to have been an accident, as anti-aircraft systems were likely active at the time of the suspected shoot down. The Pentagon could not confirm the report for Insider.
The plane crashed outside of the Iranian capital of Tehran on Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board, shortly after Iranian forces launched a barrage of missiles at US and coalition forces in Iraq in response to a US drone strike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani last week.
CBS News reports that US officials are confident that Iran shot down Flight 752, explaining that US intelligence detected anti-aircraft radars turning on prior to the crash. Satellites detected two infrared blips, suspected SA-15 missile launches, that were followed by another blip, the aircraft explosion.
CNN confirmed CBS and Newsweek’s reporting.
President Donald Trump said Thursday that he does not believe that the passenger jet went down as a result of a mechanical error, according to CNBC.
“It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood,” the president said. “Someone could have made a mistake. I have a feeling that — it’s just some very terrible, something very terrible happened, very devastating”
Oleksiy Danylov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, wrote on Facebook Thursday that Ukrainian investigators are considering a number of possibilities, including that the plane may have been shot down.
Images showing apparent fragments of a Tor M-1 missile said to have been found outside of Tehran have been circulating on social media
Other possibilities Ukrainian investigators are looking at include an engine explosion due to a technical malfunction, a terrorist attack, or a collision with an unmanned aerial vehicle.