Surveillance video circulating on social media appears to show for the first time two missiles slamming into a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing all 176 people aboard just minutes after takeoff from Tehran a week ago.
The video was verified by The New York Times and Storyful, a social media company owned by the parent of the Wall Street Journal. USA TODAY has not independently verified the authenticity of the video.
The blurry video appears to show a missile launching from a site near Imam Khomeini International Airport and apparently hitting the plane, moments before the second one hits. The plane appears to be in flames as it circles back to the airport. It crashed minutes later, just missing a village near the airport.
The video likely explains why the plane’s transponder failed before the plane crashed. The first missile damaged the Boeing 737-800, the second one struck about 23 seconds later, further crippling the aircraft as it attempted to return to the airport. The plane, or its remnants, crashed just outside a village near the airport minutes later.
Iran missile strike and plane crash:Here’s how the horror unfolded
For three days the Iranian military rejected claims that the Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down. That changed Saturday, when the military issued a statement saying the plane was accidentally shot down after being misidentified as a cruise missile “due to human error at a time of heightened U.S. threats of war.”
U.S. officials have identified the weapon as the Gauntlet, a Russian-made SA-15 surface-to-air missile system.
The news triggered a series of angry protests across the country, and news of a second missile could further inflame Iranians outraged by the government’s handling of the tragedy.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani have promised a thorough investigation. Most of the passengers were Iranian and Canadian, and representatives of those two countries met with Ukrainian authorities Tuesday to begin sharing information on the crash.
Several arrests already have been announced.
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have heightened since President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of an international agreement designed to curb Iran’s nuclear intentions. Relations grew hotter still after a U.S. drone strike in Irag targeted and killed an Iranian general viewed by the U.S. and much of the West as a terrorist.
Iran promised a response, and days later missiles slammed into to Iraqi military bases housing U.S. soldiers. Hours later, tragedy struck over Tehran.
“The terrible catastrophe should be thoroughly investigated, and those responsible for this unforgivable mistake will definitely be identified and prosecuted” Rouhani said.
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