Malaysia held a memorial service today to mark the anniversary of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in July 2014, which killed all 298 people aboard. More than 90 family members attended the memorial, which was followed by an official briefing on the ongoing investigation. Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai told reporters after the event, which was closed to the media, that the investigation was "very detailed and we are quite convinced that we will be able to find the culprits." Investigations had determined the plane was shot down by a Russian BUK missile system that was fired from a field controlled by pro-Russian separatists. Russia has denied any involvement and denounced the conclusions as politically biased. "What we're told inside was that they (investigators) have all the information that they need," said Mohamad Salim Sarmo, who lost his son Mohamad Ali on the flight. Cousins Nur Sabrina and Anwar Zafran said they can only pray that the culprits will be brought to justice. Their 19-year-old cousin, Mohamad Afif Tambi, and his entire family perished onboard Flight 17. "We can't really grasp or accept everything, but we do know that Malaysia Airlines and all the governments are doing their best to get the ones who shot MH17. So we just wait and pray, that's all," Anwar said. The Dutch government said earlier this month that any suspects will be prosecuted in the Netherlands.
The decision was made by the countries jointly investigating the crash Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, Ukraine and the Netherlands. Victims came from 17 countries, with 196 of them Dutch. The Dutch Foreign Ministry did not identify the suspects. Investigators last year said they had pinpointed 100 people they want to speak to who are believed to have been involved in transporting the Buk missile launcher or its use. The Joint Investigation Team, led by prosecutors and police from the Netherlands, made its preliminary findings public after interviewing more than 200 witnesses, listening to 150,000 intercepted phone calls, examining half a million photos and video recordings, consulting radar and satellite images, and sifting through dozens of containers filled with wreckage from the jet. The Russian military has said data from radar in southern Russia showed that the missile that downed Flight 17 did not originate in rebel-controlled territory.
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