15 SEPTEMBER 2014
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Dutch investigators have issued their first report on the disaster that overtook Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine on 17 July.
Dutch prosecution service chief, Fred Westerbeke, who is leading the international enquiry into the tragedy, said that the investigation was focusing on the theory that a surface-to-air missile had been used to shoot the plane down. The aircraft appeared to have broken apart due to the impact of a large number of metallic items, produced typically by a fragmentation warhead.
Ukraine and Western countries accuse the rebels of shooting the aircraft down with an advanced Russian-made missile. One senior rebel leader has said that his forces did not possess such weapons but radio interceptions seem to indicate initial celebrations by the separatists.
"If we can establish this iron comes from such a missile, that is important of course," Westerbeke said in an interview. "At this moment, we don't know that, but that's what we are investigating."
Of the 298 passengers and crew who were killed, two-thirds were Dutch. According to the Dutch Safety Board, it will take a year to complete the full investigation. www.onderzoeksraad.nl/en
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