(CBS) — Iran acknowledged that it “unintentionally” shot down a Ukrainian International Airlines passenger jet early Wednesday, killing all 176 people aboard, according to a military statement on state TV cited by The Associated Press.
The statement, which was released Saturday morning local time, said the plane was mistaken for a “hostile target” after it turned toward a “sensitive military center” of the Revolutionary Guard, the AP reported. It also blamed the “highest level of readiness” resulting from tensions with the United States.
The admission comes after Iranian officials vehemently denied claims that they mistakenly shot down the jet and accused the United States of “spreading lies” about intelligence suggesting they did. Of the 176 people killed in the crash, most were Iranian and Canadian nationals.