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15:49 GMT +3 hours21 December 2014
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Moldovan plane that crashed in Iraq was downed - eyewitness

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A Moldovan An-26 cargo plane that crashed in Iraq January 9, killing 34 people, was downed by a missile, an eyewitness said Friday.
ANKARA, January 12 (RIA Novosti) - A Moldovan An-26 cargo plane that crashed in Iraq January 9, killing 34 people, was downed by a missile, an eyewitness said Friday.

"The plane is said to have crashed due to fog, but I saw no fog," Ozcan Sahin, a brother of Hamdi Sahin, a Turkish worker killed in the crash, told Turkish NTV television. He said he was 300-400 meters from the crash site, near Balad, north of Baghdad.

"The plane was downed by a missile that struck the right section of the fuselage. Employees of other companies also saw it. More than 20 F-16 fighters took off from an American base that day, and had there been fog they would have been grounded," he said.

It is not the first claim that the An-26 was shot down rather than having crashed as the result of bad weather. The Islamic Army in Iraq group claimed responsibility Thursday for the downing.

The plane, which was owned by the Moldovan company AerianTur-M, was transporting mainly Turkish workers to Iraq from the Turkish city of Adana. Thirty-four people, including five Moldovan crewmembers and one American, died in the crash. One Turk survived.

Earlier, Turkish authorities told CNN-Turk television that there were 29 Turkish workers, three Moldovans, a Russian, a Ukrainian and an American on board. Later, the Russian consul general in Antalya said the Russian and the Ukrainian also had Moldovan citizenship.