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Terror probe launched over vanished jet


Malaysia on Sunday launched a terror probe into the disappearance of a passenger jet carrying 239 people and the United States sent the FBI to investigate, as anguished relatives begged for news of their loved ones.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished from radar early on Saturday somewhere at sea between Malaysia’s east coast and southern Vietnam. Search teams were still hunting for the plane, and the airline said it was “fearing the worst”.
Concern over a possible security breach grew as Malaysia’s government said it was investigating four people who were on the Boeing 777 plane.
At least two passengers boarded using stolen European passports, officials and reports have said.
“At the same time our own intelligence have been activated, and of course, the counterterrorism units… from all the relevant countries have been informed,” Malaysia’s acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is sending agents and technical experts to assist the probe, US media reported.
US officials told The Los Angeles Times that they were trying to determine whether there was any terror link to the flight’s disappearance, but stressed there was no evidence to support that yet.
“Just because they [the passports]were stolen doesn’t mean the travellers were terrorists,” a Department of Homeland Security official told the paper.
“They could have been nothing more than thieves. Or they could have simply bought the passports on the black market.”
Asked to confirm the reports, an FBI spokesperson said: “We are ready to assist if needed.”
The flight went missing about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, bound for Beijing. A total of 153 Chinese nationals were on board, and relatives camped out at the main international airport in China’s capital bemoaned the lack of news on Sunday.
“The airline company didn’t contact me, it was a friend,” a middle-aged woman surnamed Nan told reporters, holding back tears, after finding out her brother-in-law was on the flight.

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