Breaking: Iran admits shooting down plane and killing 176 – but says it was unintentional

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Iranian officials has announced through state television that the Ukrainian Airlines plane, killing 176 passengers was shot down ‘unintentionally’ due to human error and promised that those responsible would be held to account.

The admission came on via Iranian state television, citing a statement from the country’s military which claimed the plane had flown close to a sensitive military site belonging to Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.

The country’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, admitted on Twitter: “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.”

It follows days of speculation about how the aircraft came to crash – on the same night as Iran was firing rockets at US military bases across the border in Iraq, an act carried out in revenge for America’s assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a drone strike several days earlier.

Iran said those responsible for shooting down the Ukrainian Airlines jet would be referred to a judicial department within the military and held accountable.

US officials had earlier said the aircraft was brought down by an Iranian missile, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the incident may have been unintentional.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also confirmed four British nationals were killed in the incident, adding that it ‘may have been unintentional’.

He however assured that the state is working closely with Canada and other international partners for a full and transparent investigation.

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