New Delhi: When he learnt about the plane crash in which 176 people were killed, he wished for his own death, Iran’s General Amir Ali Hajizadesh, the head of the Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace division, said on Saturday as, after three days, Iran acknowledged to have shot down the Ukrainian plane, thinking it to be a hostile target.

 

“I wished I were dead,” the commander said. “It was a short-range missile that exploded next to the plane. That’s why the plane was able to continue flying for a while,” he added. It exploded when it hit the ground.

 

For three days, Iran insisted that it was a crash owing to a technical glitch, though there were speculations that the nature of the crash did not look like a technical glitch. On Saturday, the military issued a statement owning up the mistake.

At that time, Iranian military was at its highest level of readiness after it just fired ballistic missiles into US Army bases inside Iraq. “In such a condition, because of human error and in an unintentional way, the flight was hit,” the military said. It apologized and said it would upgrade its systems to prevent future tragedies.

Those responsible for the strike on the plane would be prosecuted, the statement added.