Surveillance video from Iran circulating on social media Tuesday appears to show two missiles hitting the Ukrainian passenger jet downed over Tehran, fired approximately 30 seconds apart, providing new information about the tragedy that killed 176 people on the plane.
The video was verified by Storyful, a social-media-intelligence company owned by
parent of Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones. It raises new questions about how forthcoming Iranian authorities were when, after three days of denial, they admitted they had mistakenly struck the Ukraine International Airlines flight without mentioning a second missile.
It also possibly answers the question of why the Ukrainian airliner’s transponder stopped working before being hit by the missile that apparently brought the jet down last week.
The blurry video shows what appears to be a missile launched from a site near the airport, and hitting an object in the sky, presumably the plane.
About 30 seconds later, a second missile is fired, which hits the plane, this time a little closer to the airport. The jet stays in the air for several minutes and bursts into flames.
The plane appears to circle back toward Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport before crashing roughly 20 miles from it.
A U.S. official identified the weapon used as a Russian-made SA-15 surface-to-air missile system, also known as the Gauntlet.
While Canada and the U.K. said at the time that one missile was fired, U.S. officials told the Journal that the system fired two missiles.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on Saturday admitted it had mistakenly shot the plane down, something Western governments had claimed, taking full responsibility and promising accountability for the perpetrators and compensation for the victims.
The three-day delay in that admission, which Ukrainian officials have said came only after they found evidence of the use of a missile forced Tehran’s hand, fueled anger and protests in the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities against perceived incompetence and dishonesty by the Iranian leadership.
The revelation that Iran’s military struck a civilian plane not once but twice will likely add fuel to that anger.
Iranian authorities on Tuesday said they had arrested an undisclosed number of suspects in connection with the shooting, with President
urging the country’s judiciary to establish a special court to hold to account those responsible for the crash.
“Anyone who should be punished will be punished,” Mr. Rouhani said in a televised speech Tuesday, his first public remarks since the plane was shot down. “The whole world will be watching our trial.”
Write to Sune Engel Rasmussen at email@example.com
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