The Iranians did shoot down Ukraine International Flight 752, several news organizations who have spoken with Pentagon officials are now reporting, including Newsweek. The most likely explanation is it was an accidental shoot-down. But that won’t help the grieving families, though they now have some better closure.
One Pentagon and one U.S senior intelligence official told Newsweek that the Pentagon’s assessment is that the incident was accidental. Iran’s anti-aircraft were likely active following the country’s missile attack, which came in response to the U.S. killing last week of Revolutionary Guard Quds Force commander Major General Qassem Soleimani, sources said.
This was the most likely conclusion I had when I wrote about the incident this morning. I also figured that U.S. intelligence assets could provide a rather definitive answer, as missile launches tend to leave data that can corroborate a hypothesis.
This is the fruit of acts of war–unintentional death of civilians. The Iranians are not very savvy with their Russian-made air defense systems, apparently. Of course, anyone can make a deadly mistake–see the U.S.S. Vincennes, that shot down an Iran Air Airbus A300 in 1988.
I’m glad that the truth is out, although I wonder if Iranians will get to hear it.