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U.S. officials confident Iran shot down passenger jet

Posted at 10:10 AM, Jan 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-10 00:52:48-05

U.S. officials are confident Iran shot down a Ukrainian jetliner in the hours after the Iranian missile attack on U.S. targets earlier this week, CBS News has learned.

The Ukrainian International Airlines plane crashed Wednesday soon after takeoff from Tehran's airport, killing all 176 people on board.

U.S. intelligence picked up signals of a radar being turned on, sources told CBS News. U.S. satellites also detected two surface-to-air missile launches, which happened shortly before the plane exploded, CBS News was told.

Federal officials were briefed on the intelligence Thursday, CBS News transportation Kris Van Cleave reports. A source who was in the briefing said it appears missile components were found near the crash site.

The plane was believed to have been mistakenly targeted.

Questions remains about downed plane in Iran

Trump: "I had my suspicions"

President Trump was asked about the crash during an event at the White House on Thursday morning. "I had my suspicions," the president said. "I don't want to say that because other people have their suspicions also."

"It's a tragic thing when I see that," Mr. Trump said. "It's a tragic thing, but somebody could have made a mistake on the other side."

"It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood, and somebody could have made a mistake," the president said. "Some people say it was mechanical. I personally don't think that's even a question."

Iranians call U.S. conclusion not true

The head of Iran's civil aviation authority has said the U.S. conclusion is simply not true, CBS News senior foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports from Tehran. A website affiliated with Iran's Revolutionary Guard called the U.S. intelligence a conspiracy cooked up by Iran's enemies, Palmer reports.