US Air Force, not Israeli, fighter jets were responsible for unsafely intercepting the Mahan Air plane over Syria, which resulted in injuries to several passengers traveling to Beirut, Iranian media reported.
Mahan Air Flight 1152 was en route from Tehran to Lebanon when it was intercepted by two F-15 fighters near the Syria-Jordan border. The approaching jets forced it to rapidly change course and altitude, resulting in several injuries among the passengers, the company said.
Initial reports from eyewitnesses on board spoke of Israeli planes, and were repeated by international media outlets. The captain of Flight 1152 later told the Iranian news agency Fars that the pilots had identified themselves as US Air Force during the radio contact.
Iran’s Ambassador to the UN Majid Takht-Ravanchi had informed Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of the incident, and warned that “the Islamic Republic of Iran will take the United States responsible” if any harm befalls the plane on the way back to Tehran, according to the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi.
Iranian media reporting a Mahan air passenger place was approached by fighter jets over Syria. Pilot lowered altitude, a number of passengers were reportedly injured. pic.twitter.com/fRQ7L1o6yZ
By Thursday evening the plane had returned to Tehran safely, but at least three passengers on board were injured in the incident.
The intercept took place in Syrian airspace over the At-Tanf border crossing with Iraq, according to Syria’s SANA news agency. The US has established a military base in the area, which the government in Damascus considers a violation of Syrian sovereignty.
Mahan Air is a privately owned Iranian civilian carrier. It was placed on the US sanctions list against “proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters” in December 2019, when Washington accused it of transporting troops and equipment for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
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