Iran Says It “Unintentionally” Shot Down Plane

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(Associated Press) Iran has announced that its military ‘unintentionally’ shot down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176 aboard.

The statement Saturday morning blames “human error” for the shootdown.

The jetliner, a Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines, went down on the outskirts of Tehran during takeoff just hours after Iran launched a barrage of missiles at U.S. forces.

Iran had denied for several days that a missile downed the aircraft. But then the U.S. and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believe Iran shot down the aircraft.

The plane, en route to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, 57 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians, according to officials.

Canada’s foreign minister has announced the creation of an international working group of countries to press Iran for a thorough investigation into the plane crash that killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians.

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois Champagne says a new International Co-ordination and Response Group, as it is known, includes countries outside Iran who lost citizens, with the exception of Germany.

The crash of the Ukraine International Airlines flight near Tehran on Wednesday included citizens from Iran, Sweden, Afghanistan, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and Germany.

The U.S. promised “appropriate action” Friday in response to its assessment that an Iranian missile was responsible for the crash.

Canada’s foreign minister has revised the number of Canadians killed from a plane crash in Iran to 57, down from an earlier estimate of at least 63.

Foreign Affairs Minister Fran├žois-Philippe Champagne says it’s a very fluid situation and 57 is the latest number after documents were checked. He says Canada is forming an emergency task force of senior officials to assist the families of those killed.

He says Iran has granted Canada just two visas for government officials. But he expects more visas will be approved soon so Canada’s Transportation Safety Board can participate in the investigation and officials from his department can provide consular services and help in the identification of victims.

Earlier Friday, Iran denied Western allegations that one of its own missiles downed the jetliner that crashed early Wednesday outside Tehran.