Trudeau Says Intel Indicates Iran Likely Shot Down Ukrainian Plane

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference January 8, 2020 in Ottawa, Canada. (Photo by Dave Chan / AFP) (Photo by DAVE CHAN/AFP via Getty Images)
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January 9, 2020 4:16 p.m.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that preliminary intelligence indicated Iran shot down a Ukrainian jet carrying 176 people, including dozens of Iranians and Canadians.

“We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence,” Trudeau said in a press conference. “The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. This may well have been unintentional.”

That matched reports of what unnamed U.S. officials have said about the crash — that Iranian missiles brought down the plane, possibly the result of a mistake by Iranian operators.

Trudeau hedged multiple times that he was conveying “preliminary conclusions” based on available intelligence and evidence.

Several reporters asked the prime minister if the United States bore any responsibility for the tragedy.

The crash came just hours after Iran struck two American bases in Iraq Tuesday night with several missiles — there were no casualties — which Iran said was a response to America’s killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani on Friday. After Tuesday’s strike, Iran was braced for a potential American response.

One reporter said Wednesday’s crash seemed to be “the end result of a sequence of events that was sparked by the drone strike ordered by the U.S. president.”

“The evidence suggests that this is the likely cause,” Trudeau said, though he later hedged in response to a similar question that it was “too soon to be drawing conclusions or assigning blame or responsibility.”

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