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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said intelligence from multiple sources is indicating that Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) Flight 752 was downed by an Iranian missile near Tehran on the morning of Jan. 8 local time.
Trudeau presented the findings with Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan in an address to the nation, though he said the strike may have been unintentional.
This came after multiple sources reported that U.S. officials believe Iran mistakenly shot down the aircraft, resulting in the deaths of all 179 people on board – including 63 Canadians.
The UIA Boeing 737-800 had just departed from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport in Iran before crashing on the morning of Jan. 8 local time. The cause of the accident was not immediately apparent.
Now, Trudeau, along with U.S. officials, believe Iran mistakenly shot down the aircraft with a SA-15 surface-to-air missile – a Russian-made system dating back to the Cold War designed to down planes, incoming missiles and other aircraft.
The crash happened in the hours after the Iranian government fired missiles at two Iraqi bases that housed U.S. troops, though officials have said they believe the UIA Boeing 737-800 was mistakenly shot down.
Under global aviation rules, Iran has the right to lead the investigation and has thus far refused to hand over the plane’s black box to Boeing.
The head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Authority, Ali Abedzadeh, has expressed doubts about the allegations, and told CNN: “If a rocket or missile hits a plane, it will free fall … How can a plane be hit by rocket or missile [and then the pilot] try to turn back to the airport?”
Photos widely circulated on the Internet allegedly show missile debris at the crash site; however, this is unconfirmed. Ukrainian investigators have reportedly asked to inspect the wreckage.
The Ukrainian government is also looking at a number of other possibilities, including an engine explosion, terrorist attack or a collision with an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone.
Meanwhile, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have urged people not to speculate on the cause of the crash until the investigation has concluded.