Malaysian Airplane reportedly 'downed' by rebels

HRABOVE, Ukraine (AP) A U.S. official says that American intelligence authorities now believe a surface-to-air missile took down the Malaysian passenger plane as it flew over eastern Ukraine Thursday.

The official says the U.S. is still working to determine additional details about the crash, including who fired the missile and whether it came from the Russian or Ukraine side of the border. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. has sophisticated technologies that can detect missile launches, including the identification of heat from the rocket engine.

The plane was carrying 295 people. The Ukraine government and pro-Russian separatists who are fighting in that region have both denied responsibility for the strike.

Ukraine's security services produced what they said were two intercepted telephone conversations that they said showed rebels were responsible for downing a Malaysian airliner.

In the first call, the security services said, rebel commander Igor Bezler tells a Russian military intelligence officer that rebel forces shot down a plane Thursday.

In the second, two rebel fighters - one of them at the scene of the crash - say the rocket attack was carried out by a unit of insurgents about 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of the crash site.

Neither recording could be independently verified.

One of the fighters, who states he is at the site of where the plane came to the ground, describes seeing scattered debris. He later describes finding the documents of somebody he identifies as an Indonesian national studying at "Thompson University."

Britain has asked for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Ukraine.

Britain's U.N. Mission said Thursday the time of the meeting has not been set.

The request follows Wednesday's downing of a Ukrainian air force fighter and Thursday's downing of a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane carrying 295 people over eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine's U.N. Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev tweeted after Thursday's crash in a rebel-controlled area that "Ukraine will present the evidence of Russian military involvement into the Boeing crash. This crime should be fully investigated."

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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