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Mahan Air passenger undergoes surgery for 'fractured spine' after US jet incident Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

Mahan Air passenger undergoes surgery for 'fractured spine' after US jet incident

The Iranian flight was en-route to Beirut when it was approached by US jets [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 July, 2020

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After two US jets approached an Iranian flight in the airspace over Syria, several passengers were reportedly hospitalised in Beirut with fractures, while one had sustained injuries to his spine.
A passenger who was on a Mahan Air flight that landed in Beirut after being approached by US fighter jets had to undergo a surgery for a spinal fracture, Lebanon's state-run National News Agency reported.

During his visit on Friday to a local hospital where the Iranian passengers were treated, Lebanon's Health Minister Hamad Hassan condemned the US incident as a "criminal intimidation" attack.

The Iranian passenger flight from Tehran was en route to 
Beirut, when it was "threatened" by two US military jets, the IRNA report claimed at the time.

A total of four passengers had been admitted to the hospital in Lebanon with fractures and other injuries, while the three had received treatment and flew back to Iran, the NNA report said, while the condition of the fourth had stabalised after the surgery.

After refuelling, the aircraft flew back to Tehran on Friday.

Citing Ahmad Audi, who specialises in neurosurgery, the NNA reported that the remaining patient "suffers from a fracture of his spine and strokes as a result of a blow to the head".

Lebanese Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti also condemned the incident, and was cited by Iranian media saying the US "threats" to Iran's Mahan Air civil airplane "put the lives of passengers in jeopardy".

"Any effort to threaten passenger planes by military aircraft is condemned. Lebanon is committed to norms and stresses its stance regarding respect for international protocols and rights," Hitti was quoted as saying.

Read also: Iran says passengers can sue US for endangering flight

In a video interview with Iranian media, Syrian ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim claimed the US targeting of the Iranian airliner was aimed at deluding Syrian air defenses into targeting the passenger plane. Abdel Karim claimed the US was "playing dirty".

Mahan Air – a private Iranian airline established in 1991 – was sanctioned a decade later by the US, which accuses it of of providing financial, material and technological support to Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

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