Malaysian Airlines plane crash: passenger jet shot down over Ukraine, 295 dead

A Malaysian airliner was brought down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 295 people aboard and sharply raising the stakes in a conflict between Kiev and pro-Moscow rebels in which Russia and the West back opposing sides.
Ukraine accused "terrorists" - fighters aiming to unite eastern Ukraine with Russia - of shooting down the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with a heavy, Soviet-era SA-11 ground-to-air missile as it flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
Leaders of the rebel Donetsk People's Republic denied any involvement, although around the same time their military commander said his forces had downed a much smaller Ukrainian transport plane. It would be their third such kill this week.

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Journalists saw burning and charred wreckage bearing the red and blue Malaysia insignia and dozens of bodies strewn in fields near the village of Hrabove, 40km from the Russian border near the rebel-held regional capital of Donetsk.

Al Jazeera's Rory Challands, reporting from Moscow, said the plane fell in an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
"The investigation would be very difficult given that it's controlled by the rebels," he said. "Ukrainian officials are saying that many children were dead. Some are saying that all died. Reuters is reporting that body parts were found at the scene. It seems that it was a very gruesome scene."
Despite the shooting down of several Ukrainian military aircraft in the area in recent months, including two this week, and renewed accusations from Kiev that Russian forces were taking a direct part, international air lanes had remained open.
Dutch news channel RTL said at least 76 Dutch citizens were aboard the aircraft. A Ukrainian official said there were 23 US citizens. France said at least four of its citizens were on board.

Malaysian Airlines plane crash: passenger jet shot down over Ukraine, 295 dead Malaysian Airlines plane crash: passenger jet shot down over Ukraine, 295 dead Thursday, July 17, 2014 Rating: 5
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