(CNN) — The US military on Thursday confirmed that one of its fighter jets had flown within a few thousand feet of an Iranian commercial aircraft over Syria to “inspect it,” after Iranian state media released videos showing apparently shaken and injured passengers.
A US F-15 conducted a “standard visual inspection” of the privately-owned Iranian jetliner at a close distance of about 1,000 meters (some 3,300 feet), a spokesman for Central Command, the US military command responsible for the Middle East, said in a statement.
The US statement came after Iranian state media Press TV reported that fighter jets had conducted “dangerous” maneuvers close to an Iranian passenger plane.
The fighter jet flew close to the Iranian aircraft because it appeared “to have deviated from” an established commercial air corridor, a US defense official told CNN Friday.
The official also said after a review of flight data the US calculated the closest the F15 came to the airliner was actually about 1,500 meters, instead of the earlier estimate of 1,000 meters.
Several passengers were injured in the incident, according to Press TV. The Mahan Air flight was flying from Tehran to Beirut, state media reports.
Iranian national broadcaster IRIB described the US maneuvering as a “provocative” action that had forced the passenger plane’s pilot to abruptly lower altitude.
A defense official told CNN there were two US F-15’s in the air, but that only one was sent to make the visual identification.
The CENTCOM spokesman said the inspection had occurred near a garrison used by the US-led coalition fighting ISIS, At Tanf, a small outpost in Syria near the Iraqi-Jordanian border that has been the scene of clashes between US and pro-regime and Iranian forces.
“The visual inspection occurred to ensure the safety of coalition personnel at At Tanf garrison. Once the F-15 pilot identified the aircraft as a Mahan Air passenger plane, the F-15 safely opened distance from the aircraft,” the statement said. “The professional intercept was conducted in accordance with international standards.”
In a statement, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, “The incident is under investigation. Due political and legal measures will be taken upon completion of the information at hand,” Press TV reported.
Mousavi said that earlier Thursday, Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, had informed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of the incident and warned that “in case of any incident for this plane on the way back home, the Islamic Republic of Iran will take the United States responsible,” according to Iran’s semi-official FARS news agency.
“A similar message has been sent to the Swiss ambassador to Tehran,” Mousavi added, according to FARS. The Swiss Embassy represents US interests in Iran.
- FOUND: Momo the Monkey on the Loose: Indianapolis’ East Side on High Alert
- Pacers GM: Contract Extension Talks with Buddy Hield Are “At a Halt” But That Doesn’t Mean They’re Done
- Murder Suspect Kevin Mason Captured
- Pence: Trump Owes it to the American People to Debate
- NWS: Expect a Rainy Wednesday Across Indiana
The Dangers of Brown Friday & How You Can Prepare for the Worst
Small Plane Crashes Near Shelbyville Airport, Two People Dead
Feds, Rush County Sheriff Search Home In Valerie Tindall's Disappearance
Police: Woman Killed, Infant Hurt in Head-On Crash with Semi-Truck
Fishers Marching Band Appears in 2023 Macy's Parade
Indiana State Police K9 Koda Receives Life-Saving Armor
Indianapolis Firefighter Among More than 20 Arrested in Child Solicitation Sting
Big Ten Championship Game's Future in Indianapolis Uncertain After 2024.