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Iran state TV: Iranian passenger plane ‘harassed’ over Syria (www.startribune.com)

TEHRAN, Iran — An Iranian passenger plane flying from Tehran to Beirut on Thursday was “harassed” by Israeli fighter jets, Iranian state TV reported, saying the plane managed to safely land in the Lebanese capital.

There was no immediate comment from Israel or Lebanon. A Lebanese aviation airport official said the flight landed regularly in Beirut on Thursday evening. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to journalists, had no further details.

There were conflicting reports as to what had happened. Syrian state media quoted unnamed civil aviation officials in Damascus as saying two jets, suspected of belonging to the U.S-led coalition, “intercepted” an Iranian passenger plane over al-Tanf, in southwestern Syria.

The reports said the interception forced the pilot to sharply change altitude, flying low and causing slight injuries among some of the passengers.

The U.S.-led coalition also had no immediate comment.

But according to the Iranian TV report, the Mahan Airline Flight 1152 was in Syrian airspace when two Israeli fighter jets came within a distance of 100 meters (328 feet) of the Iranian airplane. The pilot quickly took the aircraft to a lower altitude to avoid a collision with the jets.

The aircraft landed soon after this but three passengers onboard sustained injuries and were taken to hospital, the Iranian TV said, citing what it described as informed but unnamed sources at the Beirut airport. The report also said some of the cabin crew were injured but did not elaborate.

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