March 12, 2014 08:13
The head of Interpol says the disappearance of a Malaysian passenger jet does not appear to be related to terrorism. Interpol Secretary-General Ronald Noble says new information about two Iranian men who used stolen passports to board the plane makes terrorism a less likely explanation for the jet's disappearance.
The international police agency released photos showing the two boarding the plane at the same time. They are identified as Pouri Nourmohammadi, 19, and Delavar Seyedmohammaderza, 29.
Malaysian Police Inspector General Khalid Tan Sri says the 19 year old was likely trying to migrate to Germany. "We have been checking his background. We have also checked him with other police organizations on his profile, and we believe that he is not likely to be a member of any terrorist group," the inspector told reporters. "And we believe that he is trying to migrate to Germany."
Khalid said Nourmohammadi's mother knew he was traveling on a stolen passport. The other man's identity is still under investigation. But the development reduces the likelihood they were working together as part of a terror plot.
Meanwhile, an extensive review of all of those on board continues. Khalid says authorities are looking into four possible scenarios in connection with the plane's disappearance: hijacking, sabotage, personal disputes and the psychological condition of those on board.
"There may be somebody on the flight who has bought huge sums of insurance. Who wants the family to gain from it. Or somebody who owes so much money and you know," he said, adding that they are looking at all possibilities.
As relatives and friends of passengers wait for word on the fate of the flight in the Malaysian capital and in Beijing, many were holding on to hope. The wife of Malaysia's prime minister visited with families in the Malaysian capital.
◆ Preparing for worst
In Beijing, families were anxious for any sign of progress, says one woman surnamed Wang, a daughter of one of the missing passengers.
Wang says that for family members who lost contact with their relatives the most pressing issue is to find out where they are and what happened. She says that if the search and rescue is not yielding any results, they hope that authorities increase their efforts into the investigation of the possibility the plane was hijacked.
As many hoped for the best they were also prepared for the worst. Selamat, the father of Flight MH370 passenger Mohd Khairul Amri, said his family hope to see whether his son is alive and in good condition, or whatever the outcome, they will accept it.
Authorities from China have handed over photos of all 153 Chinese nationals on board the flight. China is stepping up its efforts to help aid in the search for the missing plane as search efforts pushed into its fourth day.
◆ Search efforts
Beijing has redeployed satellites to help in the search for the Boeing 777 jet that vanished from radar screens early Saturday morning. Nine countries have joined the search effort, which once again was expanded on land and sea Tuesday.
Search efforts are focusing on waters off the east and west of the Malaysian peninsula. U.S. naval vessels have joined the search in the Gulf of Thailand and a P-3C Orion anti-submarine and surveillance aircraft is aiding the search over waters off the west of Malaysia in the northern Straits of Malacca and the Andaman Sea.
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