Iran claims passenger jet was ‘harassed’ by Israeli jets
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Iran claims passenger jet was ‘harassed’ by Israeli jets

According to Iranian state TV report, Mahan Airline Flight 1152 from Tehran to Beirut was in Syrian airspace when two Israeli fighter jets came within a distance of 328ft

An Iranian passenger plane flying from Tehran to Beirut on Thursday was “harassed” by Israeli fighter jets, Iranian state TV reported, saying the plane managed to safely land in the Lebanese capital.

There was no immediate comment from Israel or Lebanon.

A Lebanese airport official said the flight landed regularly in Beirut on Thursday evening.

The official had no further details.

There were conflicting reports as to what had happened.

Syrian state media quoted unnamed civil aviation officials in Damascus as saying two jets, suspected of belonging to the US-led coalition, “intercepted” an Iranian passenger plane over al-Tanf, in south-western Syria.

US troops fighting Islamic State militants have established a presence in the al-Tanf area since 2016.

The US has declared it a so-called de-conflicted zone.

Beyond it, Syrian forces and their Iranian allies operate, which makes it a remaining flashpoint in the region.

The reports said the interception forced the pilot to sharply change altitude, flying low and causing slight injuries among some of the passengers.

The US-led coalition had no immediate comment.

But according to the Iranian TV report, the Mahan Airline Flight 1152 was in Syrian airspace when two Israeli fighter jets came within a distance of 328ft of the Iranian plane.

The pilot quickly took the aircraft to a lower altitude to avoid a collision with the jets.

The aircraft landed soon after this but three passengers onboard sustained injuries and were taken to hospital, the TV said, citing what it described as informed but unnamed sources at the Beirut airport.

The report also said some of the cabin crew were injured but did not elaborate.

The confusion of the incident increased later when the Iranian state TV quoted the pilot of the Iranian plane as saying the fighter jets’ pilots had identified themselves as American over radio communication.

Iran’s foreign ministry said that following the incident, a protest note was sent to the Swiss Embassy, which represents America’s interests in Iran, warning that if any accident happens on the plane’s return flight to Tehran, it will be the responsibility of the United States.

The ministry’s spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, said Iran is investigating the incident.

The same note was also delivered to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres by Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Majid Takht-e Ravanchi.

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