U.S. Officials: Malaysia Airlines Plane Was Hit by Surface-to-Air Missile
Crash Was ‘Terrorist Act’, ‘Not An Accident’
The crash of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 295 people on board is believed to have been caused by a missile fired deliberately at the plane.
U.S. intelligence agencies told sources it was a surface-to-air missile but did not indicate whether it was fired by pro-Russian separatist forces or Ukrainian forces.
The aircraft was shot down over eastern Ukraine near the Russian border, an area marked by fighting between the two groups. While multiple military aircraft have been downed, the most recent on Wednesday, Flight 17 would be the first commercial airliner to fall victim to the hostilities.
Ukrainian officials termed the crash an act of terrorism. U.S. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said that the plane was “apparently shot down” and made it clear that it was “not an accident. Blown out of the sky.”
Ukraine’s president, Petro O. Poroshenko, pointedly referenced terrorism when calling the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte. “I would like to note that we are calling this not an incident, not a catastrophe, but a terrorist act,” he said in the course of making a condolence call.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. No survivors have been reported.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that “no stone will be left unturned” in the investigation of the downing of the plane. “If it transpires that the plane was, indeed, shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must be brought to justice.”
(Photo: Accura Media Group)