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Daily says al-Qaeda behind Iranian military plane crash

Tehran, Feb 26, IRNA -- The English-language daily `Tehran Times' on Wednesday highlighted speculations that the last week crash of an IRGC plane could have been a sabotage by the al-Qaeda terror network.

The Tehran Times quoted eyewitnesses as reporting that they had seen sparks from the plane following an explosion in the cockpit before it came down on the mountains.

A Russian-built Ilyushin-76 carrying 276 personnel of the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps (IRGC) last Wednesday crashed into the Sirch mountain, southeastern province of Kerman killing all on board.

Studies into the causes of the incident are still continuing.

The daily highlighted the comments of an aerospace expert that the plane had been in the best flight condition and was steered by a competent pilot, and that the possibility of a technical failure or pilot error was basically rejected.

The Tehran Times stressed that no message had been aired to the control tower concerning poor vision or impaired flight systems, and quoted the expert as citing terrorist operations as the most likely cause of the tragedy.

"Al-Qaeda's silence on the plane crash has increased the likelihood of sabotage in the incident," the daily stressed.

... Payvand News - 2/26/03 ... --

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