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Malaysian airliner crash: Ukraine accuses rebels of looting crash site

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BY CNN

Ukraine accused rebels of looting jewelry, credit cards and money Saturday from the crash site of a passenger jet that went down in the nation’s east.

The United States said a surface-to-air missile, possibly fired by pro-Russian rebels, took down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on Thursday.

The plane, which had 298 people aboard, was traveling from Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.

The government in Kiev said it received information of looting of various items, including money and jewelry, and urged relatives to cancel the victims’ credit cards.

But a CNN crew at the scene Saturday said it did not see any signs of looting or the rebels rummaging through items at the crash site. Pro-Russian rebels have been lurking around the site since the plane crashed.

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An international organization at the scene Friday said it appears that the bodies have not been tampered with.

However, Ukrainian government officials claimed Saturday that “terrorists,” as they routinely refer to the rebels, had taken 38 bodies from the scene to a morgue in Donetsk city, a rebel stronghold.

The government statement also accused the rebels of “seeking to export large-sized transport aircraft wreckage to Russia.” It appealed for the international community to put pressure on Moscow to rein in the rebels, saying, “Russia is supporting terrorists in their attempts to destroy evidence of international crime.”

As Ukraine’s government pointed fingers at the rebels, investigators worked to get access to the site. Malaysian investigators touched down in Kiev on Saturday to try to get the bottom of what happened to the jetliner.

But it’s uncertain whether they will make it to the crash site in rebel-held eastern Ukraine, Malaysia’s official news agency Bernama reported. They’re still negotiating with pro-Russian rebels over access for their 131-member team.

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