The missiles were fired 30 seconds apart from one another and explain why the plane’s transponder ceased to work as the plane descended to the ground. According to the New York Times, the plane was disabled by the first strike before being hit by the second one. The New York Times published the footage of the missiles yesterday.
What’s in the footage?
The film is blurry and shot from a rooftop angle in a village four miles away from an Iranian military site. In the footage, the Kiev-bound plane is seen catching fire and circling back to Tehran’s airport. Minutes later, the aircraft exploded and crashed.
What’s the context to this?
When reports of the crash initially came out, Iran denied Western claims that it had anything to do with it. However, Iran finally admitted it’s involvement in the crash when Revolutionary Guards aerospace commander Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh claimed that a missile operator had mistaken the Ukraine International Airlines plane for cruise missile and opened fire.
This incident took place during a time when Iranian armed forces were on high alert after launching numerous missiles at Iraqi bases hosting US troops in retaliation for the killing of Qassem Soleimani on January 3rd.
Following Iran’s acknowledgment of it’s part in the air disaster, there has even an outburst of backlash and the country has seen thousands of protesters, mostly students, take to the streets to criticise the government.
New videos circulating on social media purported to show fresh protests on Tuesday evening at universities in Tehran, along with clashes between students and Basij militia loyal to the establishment.
These videos have not been verified.
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