MH17 shootdown may have been 'mistake': US intel official

A man walks amongst the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine, on July 17, 2014 (AFP Photo/Alexander Khudoteply)

Washington (AFP) - Malaysian flight MH17 may have been shot down by "mistake" by ill-trained pro-Russian separatists, US intelligence officials said Tuesday, while dismissing Moscow's accounts of the incident.

Evidence gathered so far suggested the separatists launched the SA-11 surface-to-air missile that blew up the Malaysian airliner but it was still unclear "who pulled the trigger," said a senior intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.