US increasingly believes Iran shot down Ukrainian airliner by accident

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The US increasingly believes that Iran mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian airliner on Wednesday, according to multiple US officials. The working theory is based on continuing analysis of data from satellites, radar and electronic data collected routinely by US military and intelligence.

The flight crashed following Iranian strikes on US forces in Iraq.

President Donald Trump on Thursday said he suspected the crash was not due to mechanical issues, indicating that “somebody could have made a mistake on the other side.”

Asked during a White House event what he thought happened to the plane, Trump said, “Well, I have my suspicions.”

“I don’t want to say that because other people have their suspicions,” Trump said, but added, “Somebody could have made a mistake on the other side … not our system. It has nothing to do with us.”

“It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood. They could’ve made a mistake. Some people say it was mechanical. I personally don’t think that’s even a question.”

Asked if he thought it was downed by accident, Trump said, “I don’t know. I really don’t know … that’s up to them. At some point they’ll release the black box.”

“Ideally they’d give it to Boeing,” he said, but said giving it to France or “some other country” would be fine, too.

“Something very terrible happened, very devastating,” he concluded.

Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization head, Ali Abedzadeh, said it would not hand the flight data recorders to Boeing or the United States after they were found on Wednesday.

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