- The Washington Times - Friday, January 10, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pomepo verified Friday that U.S. officials have evidence Iranians shot down a Ukrainian airliner shortly after takeoff in Tehran this week, killing all 176 people aboard.

“We do believe that it’s likely that the plane was shot down by an Iranian missile,” Mr. Pompeo told reporters during a briefing at the White House. “We’re going to let the investigation play out before we make a final determination. It’s important that we get to the bottom of it.”

U.S. and other Western officials said Thursday they have data from satellite images and other intelligence that two surface-to-air missiles fired by Iranian military forces downed the Boeing 737 shortly after it took off from Tehran early Wednesday. Video footage appears to show the jetliner being struck in midair, then crashing to the ground in a fireball. Iranian officials are denying that the plane was struck by missiles.

Mr. Pompeo said he spoke with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday morning, and with his Canadian counterpart. More than 60 Canadian citizens were killed on the flight, operated by Ukraine International Airlines and destined for Kyiv.

“When we get the results of that investigation, I am confident we and the rest of the world will take appropriate action,” he said.

The shoot-down occurred shortly after Iran fired 15 ballistic missiles at U.S. military bases in Iraq in retaliation for the U.S. killing Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike.

Mr. Zelensky said on Facebook early Friday that the possibility a missile brought down the plane “cannot be ruled out but is not currently confirmed.”

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