WASHINGTON, July 24. /TASS/. A US F-15 fighter kept a safe distance from the Iranian passenger plane operated by Mahan Air when it was flying over Syria earlier on Thursday, Spokesman for US Central Command Captain Bill Urban told TASS when asked to comment on the incident. The spokesman added that the F-15 had professionally intercepted the passenger aircraft in accordance with international standards.
"A U.S. F-15 on a routine air mission in the vicinity of the CJTF-OIR (Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve - TASS) At Tanf garrison in Syria conducted a standard visual inspection of a Mahan Air passenger airliner at a safe distance of approximately 1,000 meters from the airliner this evening," the spokesman informed.
"Once the F-15 pilot identified the aircraft as a Mahan Air passenger plane, the F-15 safely opened distance from the aircraft. The professional intercept was conducted in accordance with international standards," he added.
Urban informed of only one F-15 fighter. According to earlier reports, there were two fighters involved in the incident.
On Thursday evening, Fars news agency informed that two fighter jets had intercepted a Mahan Air passenger plane flying over Syria. The plane was headed to Lebanon and landed safely at Beirut Airport. It then returned to Tehran. As a result of forced maneuvering, three passengers of the plane as well as several members of the crew have been injured. The pilot of the Iranian plane stated that the fighter jets were American.