BEIRUT/TEHRAN, July 23 (Xinhua) — Over 150 passengers on board an Iranian plane were evacuated on Thursday evening after its landing at Beirut airport following interception by U.S. warplanes.
A source at the airport told Xinhua that some of the passengers suffered mild injuries.
The Iranian plane, operated by Mahan Airlines, changed altitude and made a quick landing at the airport after U.S. warplanes blocked its passage over Syrian airspace, to avoid collision with the U.S. aircraft, local media reported.
Two warplanes believed to be with the U.S.-led anti-terror coalition intercepted the Iranian passenger jet over the al-Tanf area in southeastern Syria, as the plane was flying on a trip from Iran to Lebanon, Syrian state news agency SANA reported, citing sources at the Syrian Civilian Aviation Department.
The warplanes forced the pilot of the Iranian plane to take a steep dive down, which led to injuries among the passengers. However, the plane continued its flight to Beirut, said SANA.
Meanwhile, a video footage went online, showing people shouting inside the plane at the time of the incident.
The incident is the first of its kind in Syria but it adds to the tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
Earlier reports by Iranian media claimed that the passenger plane was “intimidated” by two Israeli fighter jets over Lebanese capital Beirut’s sky on Thursday evening.
The plane was bound to Beirut on its regular route, but as the pilot of the plane faced the “threat,” he had to change the course and make an emergency landing at Beirut airport to save the life of the passengers, Tasnim news agency reported.
In the incident, some passengers were injured, it said.
A reporter of the Iranian state TV, who was on board the plane, confirmed that the warplanes, which approached within 100-meter distance to the passenger plane, belonged to Israel, according to Tasnim. Enditem