127 victims of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 identified: Report

International experts investigating the site of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in the Donetsk region, in eastern Ukraine on August 1, 2014. Dutch forensic experts have identified a total of 127 victims, with 20 new names being released to
International experts investigating the site of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in the Donetsk region, in eastern Ukraine on August 1, 2014. Dutch forensic experts have identified a total of 127 victims, with 20 new names being released to families on Thursday, Dutch national broadcaster NOS said. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

THE HAGUE (AFP) - Dutch forensic experts have identified a total of 127 victims of downed flight MH17, with 20 new names being released to families on Thursday, the Dutch national broadcaster said.

"Of the 20, some 15 were Dutch. The nationalities of the rest of the victims were not released," NOS said on its website.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 exploded over insurgent-held east Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 on board, 193 of them Dutch, with the West accusing Russia-backed separatists of shooting it down and Moscow blaming Kiev.

The search for bodies was called off a week ago because of rising clashes between Kiev and the pro-Moscow rebels but the Dutch government hopes to return should the situation improve.

On Monday, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte vowed justice for MH17's victims, saying investigations are to continue to find those responsible.

Australia lost 38 citizens and residents in the crash.

Dutch air crash investigators said this week they expected an initial report into what brought down MH17 "within a few weeks."

Meanwhile, Dutch justice officials on Thursday said dozens of its officials and around 200 investigators were working on the criminal probe into the crash.

"As far as we know, this is the largest criminal justice investigation in the history of the Netherlands," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

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