Iran downed Ukraine airliner killing 176 people on board, Trudeau cites intel sources

Iran downed Ukraine airliner killing 176 people on board, Trudeau cites intel sources

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday that Canada had intelligence from multiple sources indicating that a Ukrainian airliner which crashed outside Tehran was mistakenly shot down by Iran.

"We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence. The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile," Trudeau told reporters.

"This may well have been unintentional," Trudeau added in a press conference.

A total of 176 people, including 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians, were killed when the plane came down shortly after take-off on Wednesday, shortly after Iran launched missiles towards bases in Iraq housing US troops.

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he had "suspicions" about the crash.

Unnamed officials told American media that Iranian air defence systems likely accidentally shot down the airliner.

Newsweek, CBS and CNN said that satellite, radar and electronic data indicated the tragic error, which followed a ballistic missile barrage by Iran on two military bases in Iraq where US troops work.

Trump didn't directly confirm that conclusion, but strongly hinted at it.

"I have my suspicions," Trump said. "It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood and somebody could have made a mistake."

"Some people say it was mechanical. I personally don't think that's even a question," Trump said, adding that "something very terrible happened."

Analysts pointed to pictures shared widely online of the wrecked fuselage of the aircraft showing multiple apparent puncture holes consistent with a rocket that detonated just outside the plane, blasting shrapnel into it.

"Similar marks were visible on wreckage of MH17," CNN reporter Jim Sciutto said, referring to the Malaysian Airlines flight which was shot down on July 17, 2014 over Eastern Ukraine by a Russian-designed surface-to-air missile.