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From MH17 to PS752- How Commercial Planes Have Become Victim of Political Conflicts

Iran, the Middle-Eastern country, said its armed forces had "unintentionally" shot down the Ukrainian airliner which crashed outside Tehran. The admission came a day after the country's civil aviation chief had denied that the plane was brought down by a missile. The Boeing 737 crashed on Wednesday, killing all 176 passengers and crew on board, shortly after Iran launched missiles at American forces in Iraq in response to the killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad.

This is not the only time a commercial jetliner has been shot down amidst political tensions. On 17 July 2014, a Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over Eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 occupants. A Joint Investigation Team later found out that the flight was hit by a Buk surface to air missile.

While the last week’s downing of the PS752 and 2014’s attack on MH17 are the two biggest cases from this decade, there have been more fatal crashes caused by missiles/ rockets. Not all of them are commercial passenger planes, but some include a few commercial cargo planes too.

Here is a recap of other planes hit by missiles over the past four decades:

- 11 killed, Somalia -

March 23, 2007: An Ilyushin Il-76 cargo aircraft belonging to a Belarusian airline is shot down by a rocket shortly after takeoff from the Somalian capital Mogadishu, killing 11 people. The plane was transporting Belarusian engineers and technicians who had travelled to the country to repair another plane hit by a missile two weeks earlier.

- 78 killed, Black Sea -

October 4, 2001: 78 people, mostly Israelis, were killed when their Siberia Airlines Tupolev Tu-154, flying from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk, exploded mid-flight over the Black Sea. The crash happened less than 300 kilometres (190 miles) from the Crimean coast. A week later Kiev admitted that the disaster was due to the accidental firing of a Ukrainian missile.

- 290 killed, Gulf -

July 3, 1988: An Airbus A-300 belonging to Iran Air, flying from Bandar Abbas in Iran to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, was shot down in Iran's territorial waters in the Gulf shortly after takeoff by two missiles fired from a US frigate patrolling the Strait of Hormuz, apparently mistaking it for a fighter aircraft.

The 290 passengers on board were killed. The United States paid Iran $101.8 million in compensation.

- 269 killed, Sakhalin -

September 1, 1983: A Boeing 747 belonging to Korean Air (then called Korean Air Lines) was shot down by Soviet fighter jets over the island of Sakhalin, after veering off course. All 269 people on board were killed. Soviet officials acknowledged five days later that they had shot down the South Korean plane.

- 108 killed, Sinai Desert -

February 21, 1973: A Libyan Arab Airline Boeing 727 flying from Tripoli to Cairo was shot down by Israeli fighter jets over the Sinai Desert. All but four of the 112 people on board were killed. The Israeli air force intervened after the Boeing flew over military facilities in the Sinai, then occupied by Israel. Israeli authorities said fighters opened fire when the plane refused to land.

With Inputs from AFP Relaxnews