An Iranian plane crash two weeks ago – which left 168 people dead – was caused by the explosion of sophisticated fuses slated to be delivered to Hezbollah, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported Saturday, quoting sources in the Middle East.
According to the report, the pilot of the Tupolev plane, which was making its way from Tehran to Armenia, sent an emergency warning 16 minutes after takeoff. Shortly afterwards, the plane crashed in northwest Iran.
According to the sources, the aircraft was carrying a large number of modern fuses composed of 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of explosives and electrical instrumentation.
The report is in line with testimonies on explosion sounds heard before the crash. According to the sources, the plane was meant to transfer the fuses from Iran to Armenia, and from there to Syria through Turkey, and then on the ground to Lebanon. This route was chosen, according to exiled opposition sources, so as not to draw attention.
According to the report, the transfer of arms was a special operation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and some of its members were among the crash victims. It was also reported that the presence of security forces at the site of the crash was not a coincidence.
According to information received from Lebanon, the weapon was to be hidden in one of the shelters built by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. However following an explosion which destroyed such a facility on July 14, the Iranian decided to hide the fuses north of the Litani River.