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article imageRockets fired at Russian passenger plane over Syria

By Stephen Morgan     Apr 30, 2013 in World
There are reports coming in that a Russian passenger plane narrowly missed being shot down while flying over Syrian airspace today.
Pravda says the plane, an Airbus A320 from North Wind airlines, was crossing Syrian on route from the Egyptian holiday resort of Sharm el-Sheikh headed for Kazan in Russia. There were 159 people aboard the plane.
Russia Today cites Interfax, which reports that an unnamed source in Moscow said “Syrian [officials] informed us that on Monday morning, unidentified forces launched two ground-to-air missiles which exploded in the air very close to a civilian aircraft belonging to a Russian airline.” He added that the pilots managed to maneuver the plane in time, “saving the lives of passengers.”
RT says that two missiles were fired at the plane, but Russian officials are not confirming that it was a targeted attack or that the aircraft had been identified as a Russian plane by combatants.
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RAI Novosti reports that “Russian aviation watchdog Rosaviatsia has urged all Russian airlines to suspend until further notice the flights over countries that are currently caught in military conflicts, following a report of “hostilities” against a Russian passenger plane flying over Syria." Rosaviatsia said that the crew had “spotted signs of combat activities which, they believed, could pose a threat to the safety of the plane.”
However, other reports say that Syrian authorities have no information about the incident and there is speculation that the reports may be exaggerated. It could be that the surface-to-air rockets, which were supposedly used, were incapable of shooting down the plane. Experts say that it is doubtful that the passenger plane would be able to take the necessary evasive action, if missiles capable of bringing it down had been fired. RAI says that the Russian Foreign Ministry has promised to take urgent steps to investigate and clarify the report.
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