- Iranian news agencies said the aircraft had engine problems early in the flight and crashed after a few minutes.
- The plane crash happened after Iran fired about 20 ballistic missiles at the army bases of Ain Assad and Erbil in Iraq.
- No casualties were reported among Coalition forces, despite Iranian media reports of 80 deaths.
A plane flying from Tehran, the capital of Iran, to Kyiv, Ukraine, crashed at dawn Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board, the local Iranian press reported. The aircraft crashed shortly after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport. The model is a Boeing 737-800 of the company Ukraine International Airlines, and had 167 passengers and nine crew members on board.
Iranian news agencies said the aircraft had engine problems early in the flight and crashed after a few minutes. According to the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, the victims of the disaster include 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, 4 Afghans, 3 Germans, and 3 Britons. The Ukrainian government has already announced the creation of a group to investigate the accident. “The plane crashed five minutes after taking off,” said Iranian civil aviation spokesman Reza Jafarzadeh. “The pilot had no contact with the control tower and did not announce any emergency before the accident,” he added.
Iran Bombs American Troops Bases in Iraq
The plane crash happened after Iran fired about 20 ballistic missiles at the army bases of Ain Assad and Erbil in Iraq, where troops from the International Coalition against the Islamic State are stationed. The Iranian state television is talking of about 80 deaths, but the Department of Defense reports no American casualties. Belgium, Denmark, Iraq, the Netherlands, Norway, and Poland also state that there are no victims in their ranks.
“Between 1:45 a.m. and 2:45 a.m., Iraq came under an attack of 22 missiles,” the Iraqi military said in a statement. “All missiles struck coalition bases.” The Pentagon has confirmed that the attack was initiated by Iran after an Iranian television station previously suggested that it was a retaliation by Tehran after an American airstrike that killed General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad last Friday. “It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel,” the U.S. Department of Defense said in a statement. According to the Pentagon, the American bases in Iraq were already in the highest state of readiness.
Operation “Martyr Soleimani” was executed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard at 1:20 AM, the same time as that of the general’s murder. Following the attack on U.S. bases, the U.S. Federal Aviation Agency issued an immediate and emergency restriction statement advising U.S. companies and pilots to avoid Persian Gulf airspace.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, has said in reaction to the strike that she will keep an eye on the situation. “We must guarantee the security of our soldiers, also by ending the endless provocations of this government and demanding that Iran cease its violence. America and the world cannot afford war.” Germany and the United Kingdom have, in the meantime, strongly condemned the Iranian attack.