TEHRAN PROVINCE, Iran — Did Iran shoot down the Boeing 737 that crashed shortly after takeoff on Wednesday?
According to CBS News reporter Kris Van Cleave, American leaders are confident that’s exactly what happened. However, CBS News also reports it's believed the plane was mistakenly targeted.
“US officials are confident Ukrainian Flt 752 was shot down by Iran. US intelligence picked up signals of the radar being turned on & satellite detected infrared blips of 2 missile launches, probably SA-15s, followed shortly by another infrared blip of an explosion,” tweeted Van Cleave.
Shortly after CBS News broke the story, two U.S. officials told the Associated Press it was “highly likely” that an Iranian anti-aircraft missile downed the passenger plane.
All 176 people on Ukrainian Airlines flight 752 were killed in the crash.
The plane was heading from Tehran to Kyiv with 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians on board.
Pentagon officials tell Fox News the passenger jet was shot down by accident.
The Washington Post reports that independent aviation experts said it appears the plane broke apart in mid-air before plummeting to the ground. Iranian investigators had said witnesses reported seeing the plane on fire, according to the Post.
The New York Times says Ukrainian investigators are looking into reports that fragments from a Russian-made surface-to-air missile had been found near the crash site.
According to the Times, that’s a type of weapon the Iranians have access to.
President Trump told reporters Thursday he does not believe a mechanical issue caused the crash.
"I have my suspicions. It was very – I don't want to say that because other people have their suspicions also," President Trump said.
"Somebody could have made a mistake. It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood, and somebody could have made a mistake."
A spokesman for the Iranian armed forces calls any suggestion of foul play "psychological warfare."
“The rumors about the plane are completely false and no military or political expert has confirmed it,” Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi said, according to the Associated Press.
The Associated Press is reporting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Thursday for a "full, credible and transparent investigation into what happened."
The crash came just a few hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack against Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops amid a confrontation with Washington over a U.S. drone strike that killed an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general.
RELATED: 737 crashes near Tehran, killing 176
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