Ukraine airliner likely brought down by missile

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (File photo by Maureen Revait, BlackburnNews.com)

The Prime Minister of Canada is calling for a thorough and credible investigation of this week’s plane crash in Iran after suggestions that the Ukraine Airlines jet was brought down by an Iranian missile.

During his 30-minute news conference in Ottawa on Thursday afternoon, Justin Trudeau told reporters there is intelligence from multiple sources suggesting the Ukraine International Airlines flight that crashed near Tehran on Wednesday was shot down by an Iranian surface to air missile that may have been triggered unintentionally.

The prime minister wouldn’t elaborate any further on the intelligence but said the preliminary conclusions are clear enough to share them with Canadians. He added it is too soon to be blaming anyone and too early to consider the crash an act of war and that’s why it is so important to conduct a thorough and credible investigation.

Trudeau said Canadians deserve answers.

“It is now more important than ever that we know how such a tragedy could have happened. The families of the victims and all Canadians want answers, I want answers,” Trudeau said. “Canadian officials must immediately be granted access to Iran in order to provide consular services, identify the victims and participate in a thorough investigation.”

Trudeau spoke to reporters after several American television networks reported that sources in the U.S. intelligence community said an Iranian missile was the likely cause of the crash, although it was believed that the passenger jet was mistakenly targeted. Trudeau said a full investigation is needed to rule out if the missile strike was intentional.

“That means closure, transparency, accountability, and justice and this government will not rest until we get that,” the prime minister said.

He added he has been assured by Iran that Ukrainian officials will have access to the plane’s black boxes that will remain in Iran.

Trudeau called the crash a tragedy that shocked Canada and the world and offered his condolences to the grieving families.

A total of 176 people, including 63 Canadians, were killed in the crash. Four Western University students and five people from the University of Windsor were among the victims. The flight was bound for Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday evening that the majority of the passengers planned to connect to Canada-bound flights.

The flag atop the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill has been lowered to half-staff in commemoration of the victims and will remain there until further notice.

-With files from Mark Brown