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TOR missiles downed plane

DUBAI, Jan 21, (AP): Iran acknowledged on Tuesday that its armed forces fired two Russian anti-aircraft missiles at a Ukrainian jetliner that crashed after taking off from Tehran’s main airport earlier this month, killing all 176 people on board.

The new preliminary report by Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization however stopped short of blaming the TOR-M1 for the crash of the Boeing 737-800, flown by Ukraine International Airways. For days after the Jan 8 shootdown, Iran denied that it fired missiles at the plane, initially blaming a technical malfunction and engine fire for the crash.

However, after the US and Canada blamed missile fire for the crash, Iran’s armed forces said anti- aircraft fire from the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard had downed the flight. The new report identified the missiles fired at the aircraft as coming from the TOR-M1. In 2017, Iran received the delivery of 29 TOR-M1 units from Russia under a contract worth an estimated $700 million.

However, the report said “the impact of these missiles on the accident and the analysis of this action is under investigation.” Surveillance footage earlier obtained by The Associated Press showed two missiles were fired at the plane. The two minutes of black-and-white footage purportedly shows one missile streaking across the sky and exploding near the plane. Ten seconds later, another missile is fired.

Some 20 seconds after the first explosion, another strikes near the plane. A ball of flames then falls from the sky out of frame. The footage corresponded with AP reporting, appeared genuine and matched geographic features of the area.

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