Unfortunately, the firing of a missile at Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 is not the first, but one many of such incidents. Here is a list:
- Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114, a Boeing 727, was shot down on February 21, 1973 when it strayed over Israeli territory, refused to land, and was shot down.
- Korean Air Lines Flight 902, was shot down on April 20, 1978 by Soviet Su-15 fighters after entering Soviet airspace and it failed to respond to demands to land.
- Air Rhodesia Flight RH825, was shot down on September 3, 1978 by Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army by using a Strela-2 missile. After it crashed, the fifty-six survivors were killed by the Revolutionary Army troops.
- Air Rhodesia Flight RH827, was shot down on February 12, 1979 by the AIPRA guerrilla army, again using a Strela 2 missile, the same as the previous shoot-down of September 3, 1978.
- Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870, was shot down by NATO jet fighters on June 27, 1980. This downing is disputed and there is some report that there was a bomb on board, however Italian Prime Minister Francesco Cossiga attributed the downing to French interceptors used in the Gadio “clandestine” operation.
- Korean Air Lines Flight 007, was shot down on September 1, 1983 by Soviet Su-15TM fighters west of the Soviet “secret” airbase at Sakhalin Island. Congressman Larry McDonald was on that flight and died.
- Polar 3, a research airplane, was shot down on February 24, 1985 by the Polisario Front, a guerrilla army operating in West Africa.
- Air Malawi 7Q-YMB, shot down on November 6, 1987 over Mozambique: a civil war was in progress there and the shoot-down is attributed to participants in the civil war.
- Iran Air Flight 655, was shot down on July 3, 1988 by U.S. guided missiles fired from the guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes. The U.S. later apologized and attributed it to a “mistake:” the US. said it thought the commercial airliner (an Airbus A300) was an Iranian F-14 giving false signals that it was a commercial flight.
- T&G Aviation DC-7, was shot down on December 8, 1988 over the western Sahara desert by the Polisario Front. The aircraft was a DC-7 used to spray insecticide as a public health goodwill gesture to control a locust outbreak.
- Transair Georgian Airliner shot down in September 1993 by missiles and gunfire from the former Soviet republic Georgia.
- In September 1993, three airliners belonging to Transair Georgia were shot down by missiles and gunfire in Sukhumi, Abkhazia, Georgia.
- Lionair Flight LN 602 was shot down in September 29, 1998 off the coast of Sri Lanka. Although unproven, it is widely believed to have been shot down by the Liberation Tiers of the Tamil Eelam rebel group operating in Sri Lanka.
- Siberia Airlines Flight 1812, shot down October 4, 2001 by Ukrainian missiles fired from the Crimea peninsula. The missile was mistakenly fired during a military exercise. The President of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma expressed condolences but never confirmed responsibility.
- DHL freight aircraft, November 22, 2001, damaged by a mid-air missile strike managed to land with wing damage inflicted by a missile. It had just taken off from Bagdad, Iraq.
- Mogadishu TransAVIAexport Airlines Il-76, shot down March 23, 2007 over Somalia. The missile was reportedly fired by a Somalian private army during the battle for Mogadishu, a conflict by private warlords for Somalia.