MH370: Malaysia investigates terror link
Malaysia suspects four imposters were on the flight. Following this development, Malaysian authorities have acknowledged that they are not discounting a more sinister reason for the disappearance of the Boeing 777-200 plane, FZ.com said.
The Agence France Press (AFP) reported that Malaysia is looking at a possible terror link in the disappearance of an airliner beleived to have gone down in the sea with 239 people aboard.
Malaysia’s transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on Sunday Malaysian security agencies were investigating after it was discovered that two passengers may have boarded missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 using stolen passports.
Earlier reports of missing Austrian and Italian passports being used by passengers who boarded the flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) raised fears of a potential terrorism attack.
The Malaysian minister confirmed that the the country’s intel have been activated along with the counter terror units.
“At the same time our own intelligence have been activated, and of course, the counter-terrorism units… from all the relevant countries have been informed.” – AFP reproted.
The flight to Beijing carried a large number of Chinese passengers, which made up of two thirds of the passenger list. In the event of a terror attack, which we do not wish indeed, could it be linked to Chinese anti-government groups?
Chinese authorities last Sunday blamed a slashing rampage that killed 29 people and wounded 143 at a train station in southern China on separatists from the country’s far west, while local residents said government crackdowns had taken their toll on the alleged culprits.
Meanwhile, John Goglia, a former board member of the National Transportation Safety Board, the U.S. agency that investigates plane crashes, said the lack of a distress call suggested that the plane either experienced an explosive decompression or was destroyed by an explosive device.
He said to Reuters news agency the false identities of two passengers strongly suggested the possibility of a bomb.
“That’s a big red flag,” he said.
International police body Interpol maintains a database of more than 39 million travel documents reported lost or stolen by 166 countries, and says on its website that this enables police, immigration or border control officers to check the validity of a suspect document within seconds. No comment was immediately available from the organization, Reuters wrote.
Goglia said the descent of the plane into the waters near Vietnam would have been quick because there was no communication, perhaps indicating the pilots did not have time to alert their point of call.
Italian police said the passport of Luigi Maraldi was reported stolen on August 1, 2013 and was inserted in the Interpol database, said Reuters.
AFP also reported that An Austrian and an Italian thought to have been on a missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft both had had their passports stolen and are safe, officials and family members said.
According to FZ.com, four passengers are being probed by the Malaysian authorities on the possibility that they used stolen passports to board the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) aircraft that had gone missing yesterday morning.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the authorities have discovered that “four imposters” had boarded the plane.
“Therefore, we will re-look the entire passenger and manifest list to find is there any other ‘suspicious’ passengers apart from the four persons.
On the other hand, Paul Hayes, director of safety at Flightglobal Ascend aviation consultancy, said the flight would normally have been at a routine stage, having reached initial cruise altitude, reports Reuters.
“Such a sudden disappearance would suggest either that something is happening so quickly that there is no opportunity to put out a mayday, in which case a deliberate act is one possibility to consider, or that the crew is busy coping with what whatever has taken place,” he told Reuters.