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Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Shootdown may have been 'mistake', says US intel official

Published on Jul 23, 2014 7:51 AM
 
The site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash is seen near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region on July 17, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Malaysian flight MH17 may have been shot down by "mistake" by ill-trained pro-Russian separatists, US intelligence officials said Tuesday, while dismissing Moscow's accounts of the incident as propaganda.

Evidence gathered so far suggests separatists launched the SA-11 surface-to-air missile that blew up the Malaysian airliner on July 17, but it remains unclear "who pulled the trigger" and why, said a senior intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"The most plausible explanation... was that it was a mistake," and that the missile was fired by "an ill-trained crew" using a system that requires some skill and training, the official said.

The intelligence official cited previous incidents over the years in which both Russian and US forces have mistakenly shot down civilian airliners.

 
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