World
Stolen passport holder on missing jet is Iranian, no terror link: Malaysia
Publish Date: Mar 11, 2014
Stolen passport holder on missing jet is Iranian, no terror link: Malaysia
A Malaysian police official displays photographs of the two men who boarded the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight using stolen European passports to the media. Malaysian police said one of them is an Iranian (pictured left). (AFP/MANAN VATSYAYANA)
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Malaysian police said Tuesday they had identified one of two men who boarded a missing Malaysian jet with fake passports as a 19-year-old Iranian believed to be seeking to emigrate to Germany.

"We believe he is not likely to be a member of any terror group and we believe he was trying to migrate to Germany," said Malaysia's national police chief Khalid Abu Bakar.

Khalid said authorities had not yet identified the other man, and that Malaysia is working with 14 other countries.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 disappeared early Saturday with 239 people aboard, sparking an international search for the plane in waters off Southeast Asia.

Revelations that two passengers on board were travelling on EU passports that were stolen in Thailand had fuelled speculation of a terrorist attack.

Khalid identified the man as Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad. He said the 19-year-old boarded the plane on an Austrian passport whose owner had previously reported it stolen.

Asked why police believed the man was seeking to emigrate to Germany, Khalid said authorities had been in contact with his mother, who was waiting for him to reach Frankfurt, but he gave no further details.

However, he said police were still considering all possibilities in terms of criminal involvement in the plane's disappearance, when asked whether police thought the revelation made them consider terrorism less likely in the case.

"At this moment, I would not say less likely. Same weightage to all until we finish our investigations," Khalid said.

The Malaysian police chief added that four areas are being studied in the case, namely hijacking, sabotage, the psychological outlook of the passengers and crew, and social issues facing those on board  -- such as whether anyone travelling had recently taken out large insurance policies.

AFP

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