Iran finally ADMITS shooting down Ukrainian jetliner

Iranian state TV, citing a military statement, says the country ‘unintentionally’ shot down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176 aboard. The statement came Saturday morning, local time, and blamed ‘human error’ for shooting down the plane on Tuesday. The government also offered an apology to families. The jetliner, a Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines, went down on the outskirts of Tehran during takeoff just hours after Iran launched a barrage of missiles at U.S. forces. Iran had denied for several days that a missile downed the aircraft. But then the U.S. and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believe Iran shot down the aircraft. The plane, en route to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, at least 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians, according to officials. On Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration revealed that American lives were possibly saved after it issued a notice barring U.S. civilian planes from flying over Iran and Iraq. The FAA confirmed to on Friday that it published a ‘notice to airmen’ (NOTAM) warning of potential hazards along the flight routes in the area just three hours before the plane was shot down. ‘Our NOTAMs were published roughly three hours before the accident,’ a spokesperson for the FAA told Washington Free Beacon. The notice specified ‘flight restrictions that prohibit US civil aviation operators from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. ‘The FAA will continue closely monitoring events in the Middle East,’ the NOTAM said. ‘We continue coordinating with our national security partners and sharing information with US air carriers and foreign civil aviation authorities.’ When the FAA was asked if the order saved American lives, an official from the agency said it would not ‘speculate on what effect [the notice] might have had.’ But one senior congressional official who is familiar with airlines issues said that the order ‘may well have saved American lives.’ ‘Iran is not a normal country, and they regularly act in reckless and unprofessional ways,’ said the congressional source. ‘The FAA showed vigilance and competence in publishing the NOTAMs when they did, and they may well have saved American lives.’ This is a developing story.