U.S. Government Believes Malaysia Jet Hit by Surface-to-Air Missile

The site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash is seen near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region

The site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash is seen near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region / Reuters

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. official said the United States believes a surface-to-air missile brought down the Malaysian airliner that crashed on Thursday in eastern Ukraine, killing all 295 people aboard.

The U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the origin of the missile was unclear. The official declined further comment.

Ukraine accused “terrorists” – militants fighting to unite eastern Ukraine with Russia – of shooting down the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with a heavy Soviet-era SA-11 ground-to-air missile as the plane flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Leaders of the rebel Donetsk People’s Republic denied any involvement.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Writing by Jason Szep; Editing by Bill Trott)