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Ukrainian Passenger Plane Crashes In Iran, Killing 170

A Ukrainian plane carrying at least 170 people has crashed shortly after taking off in Tehran, the Iranian capital, killing all on board, Iran state media reports.
The Boeing 737 had left Tehran’s international airport enroute Kiev, semi-official news agency, ISNA, said, adding that 10 ambulances were sent to the crash site.
“Obviously it is impossible that passengers” on flight PS-752 are alive, the head of Red Crescent, Morteza Salimi, told semi-official news agency ISNA, adding that 170 passengers and crew had boarded the plane.
State news agency, IRNA, said 167 passengers and nine crew members had boarded the plane, which was operated by Ukraine International Airlines.
Press TV, state television’s English-language news broadcaster, said the plane went down in close to the vicinity of Parand, a city in Tehran province.

The crash was likely to have been caused by “technical difficulties,” it reported, citing Ali Khashani, spokesperson for Imam Khomeini International Airport.

“The plane caught fire after crashing,”  Press TV also said.

A video aired by the state media broadcaster appeared to show the plane already on fire, falling from the sky.

The Iranian state television showed footage from the site of the crash of Red Crescent search and rescue teams, searching an open field with debris spread across it.

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American airline manufacturer, Boeing, tweeted: “We are aware of the media reports out of Iran and we are gathering more information.”

The crash came shortly after Iran said it fired missiles at Iraqi bases in revenge for the killing of one of the Islamic republic’s top military commanders in a US drone strike on Friday.

Following the missile strikes, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), said it was banning US-registered carriers from flying over Iraq, Iran and the Gulf after rocket attacks on US forces in Iraq.

“The (FAA) issues Notices to Airmen tonight outlining 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,” it said in a statement.

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“The FAA will continue closely monitoring events in the Middle East.”

Iran launched the missiles after a US drone strike killed Qasem Soleimani, a hugely popular figure who headed the foreign operations arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, vowed “severe revenge” for the assassination and declared three days of mourning, following the assassination which shocked the Islamic republic.

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The assassination of Soleimani triggered an escalating war of words between Iran and the US.

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