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History of Planes Shot Down by Missiles

The shooting down of Ukrainian plane by Iran was not the first time a plane would be shot down, some deliberately.

Iran has admitted it committed ‘unforgivable error’ in downing the Kiev-bound plane on Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board. Al Jazeera shares a catalogue of such disasters in history:

Ukraine: 298 killed
July 17, 2014: Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam.

All 298 people on board the Boeing 777 are killed, including 193 Dutch nationals.

The Kyiv authorities and separatist pro-Russian rebels, who are battling for control of eastern Ukraine, accuse each other of firing the missile that hit the flight.

In 2019, Dutch prosecutors named four suspects in the attack, including three members of the Russian armed forces.

Somalia: 11 killed
March 23, 2007: An Ilyushin II-76 cargo aircraft belonging to a Belarusian airline is shot down by a rocket shortly after takeoff from the Somalian capital, Mogadishu, killing 11 people.

The plane was transporting Belarusian engineers and technicians who had travelled to the country to repair another plane hit by a missile two weeks earlier.

Black Sea: 78 killed
October 4, 2001: 78 people, mostly Israelis, were killed when their Russian Sibir Tupolev-154, flying from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk, exploded in mid-flight over the Black Sea.

The crash happened less than 300 kilometres (186 miles) from the Crimean coast.

A week later Kyiv admitted that the disaster was due to the accidental firing of a Ukrainian missile.

Iran: 290 killed
July 3, 1988: An Airbus A-300 belonging to Iran Air, flying from Bandar Abbas in Iran to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, was shot down in Iran’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf shortly after takeoff by two missiles fired from a frigate, USS Vincennes, patrolling the Strait of Hormuz, apparently mistaking it for a fighter aircraft.

The 290 passengers on board were killed, including 66 children.

The United States paid Iran $101.8m in compensation for the victims following a settlement at the International Court of Justice.

As part of the agreement, the US did not admit legal liability or formally apologise to Iran for the tragedy.

The US later awarded the captain of USS Vincennes, Will C Rogers, the Legion of Merit for his service as a commander.

Sakhalin, Russia: 269 killed
September 1, 1983: A South Korean Boeing 747 of Korean Air was shot down by Soviet fighter jets over the island of Sakhalin, after veering off course.

Some 269 passengers and crew members were killed.

Soviet officials acknowledged five days later that they had shot down the South Korean plane.

Sinai Dessert: 108 killed
February 21, 1973: A Libyan Arab Airline Boeing 727 flying from Tripoli to Cairo was shot down by Israeli fighter jets over the Sinai desert.

All but four of the 112 people on board were killed.

The Israeli air force intervened after the Boeing flew over military facilities in the Sinai, then occupied by Israel.

The Israeli authorities said fighters opened fire when the plane refused to land.


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