U.S. officials are reportedly 'confident' Iran shot down the Ukrainian passenger plane

Kathryn Krawczyk

The Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed near Tehran early Wednesday may have something to do with this U.S.-Iran crisis after all.

The plane was shot down by Iran's anti-aircraft missile system, a Pentagon official, a senior U.S. intelligence official, and an Iraqi intelligence official have told Newsweek. CBS News, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal have all backed up that reporting, with U.S. officials saying they're "confident" Iran shot down the plane.

The Boeing 737 bound for Kiev crashed Wednesday morning just after taking off from Tehran, killing the 176 people onboard. While originally thought to be an engine failure, Ukraine declined to rule out any possibilities Thursday after finding the plane had turned back toward the airport before it burst into flames in the air.

Iran has since invited the U.S.'s NTSB to help investigate the matter, two people familiar with the matter told the Times. U.S. intelligence had "picked up signals of a radar being turned on," and U.S. satellites "also detected two surface-to-air missile launches," CBS News reports. That evidence led a U.S. official to say "we had a high level of confidence that this was shot down by Iran," the Journal reports. Investigators also reportedly found missile pieces near the crash site. "The plane was believed to have been mistakenly targeted," CBS News added.

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