US F-15 fighter jets intercepted a Mahan Air Airbus A310 carrying passengers from Tehran to Beirut while the aircraft was in Syrian airspace. Iran’s state news agency says that one of the jets came close enough to Mahan’s flight 1152 that it had to take evasive action, changing altitude abruptly and injuring passengers.
Violent interception of Iranian Mahan Air passanger airplane over Syria by US or Israeli F-15. Pilot was forced to drop altitude in order to avoid collision. pic.twitter.com/tBL7px3vgA
— Aldin 🇧🇦 (@aldin_ww) July 23, 2020
A statement by US Central Command says that they were at a safe distance, conducting an inspection of the plane “to ensure the safety of personnel at the US military base at al-Tanf, near the border with Iraq and Jordan” and that it identified the plane as a passenger aircraft, at which point it “safely opened distance” from the Mahan Air jet.
A US F-15 on a routine air mission in the vicinity of the at [al]-Tanf garrison in Syria conducted a standard visual inspection of a Mahan Air passenger airliner at a safe distance of approximately 1,000 metres [0.6 miles] from the airliner this evening.
Mahan Air Airbus A310, Dusseldorf Germany, Copyright ewastudio / 123RF Stock Photo
A passenger described “how his head had hit the roof of the plane during the change in altitude, and video showed an elderly passenger sprawled on the floor.” In this video, a passenger is shown with blood on his head, however overall injuries appear minor.
A year ago the U.S. warned commercial planes flying over the Persian Gulf that they might get shot down, evoking memories of Iran Air 655, which the US shot down in 1988. This incident though occurred over land.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) July 23, 2020
Mahan Air has been said to transport arms for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. And Iran of course did actually shoot down a commercial plane at the beginning of January.