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MH17: Anger boils over reports of looting at crash site

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MH17: Anger boils over reports of looting at crash site
A pro-Russian fighter holds up a toy found among the debris at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine on July 18. - AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky
KUALA LUMPUR: As nations reel from the loss of 298 people on aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 that was shot down by missile, reports of looting at the crash site has surfaced, triggering more anger towards both Ukrainian and Russian authorities who are still pointing fingers at each other on the cruel downing of the airliner.

The Dutch, who have mostly been silently grieving the loss of its 192 citizens, voiced disgust at rebel separatists for looting the belongings of the dead including cash, jewellery and credit cards.

Some of the rebels reportedly posted their loot on social networking sites.

"Murderers"– the Netherlands' leading daily De Telegraaf reported as its headline on Friday.

“Keep your arms off the belongings. No respect for the dead people. Terrible," Mireille Kossen-Warnaar told the daily in response to looting reports.

The crash scene in the Eastern Ukraine has not been roped off, USA Today reported, and investigators arrived at the site found victim's luggage opened and riled through by raiders, possibly hampering investigations into the airline disaster.

Among the items reportedly left behind by raiders – stuffed toys, family photographs, travel books, children's play cards and passports.

Meanwhile, Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbot said investigators from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) had gained temporary access to the crash site but was fired on as they attempted to examine debris from the plane.

“Presumably from the Russian-backed rebels,” said Abbot, in a report by The Australian.

“Anyone who tries to obstruct access to the site or sanitise the site... is no friend of justice and is no friend of peace,” he went on to say in a press conference in Sydney today.

Australia, who lost 28 nationals in the tragedy, will be sending its Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to New York tonight to seek a binding United Nations Security Council resolution to allow an independent international investigation into the incident.

Leaders around the world have joined in a chorus of condemnation on the attack, believed to be carried out by pro-Russian separatists near the Ukraine – Russia border.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte vowed to track down those responsible for downing the airliner if it emerges it was attacked.

"Let me be crystal-clear about this, should it emerge that it was an attack, I will personally see to it that the perpetrators are brought to justice,” he told reporters in the Hague on Friday.

"We will not rest until they have been brought to book," said Rutte.

United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron insisted that those responsible must be held accountable.

"It is an absolutely shocking incident. It cannot be allowed to stand,” he said of the tragedy where nine Britons were killed.

United States President Barack Obama, in a statement yesterday, said at least one American citizen, Quinn Lucas Schansman, was killed in the catastrophic incident. 

“I spoke with the leaders of Ukraine, Malaysia and the Netherlands. I told them that our thoughts and prayers are with all the families and that the American people stand with them during this difficult time,” adding that the US is ready to provide any necessary assistance to the investigation.

Personnel from Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are already on their way to Ukraine to assist in the investigation.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has demanded that the perpetrators of downed Flight MH17 be brought to justice, stopping short of pinpointing blame.

"If evidence shows the plane was shot down, then we demand the responsible party to be brought to face justice,” he said in a live address on national television Friday.

Forty-three Malaysians perished in the incident.

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Tags: MH17, Ukraine, Russia