Australia to hold memorial service for MH17 victims
PM wishes service will help families of 39 Australians on downed flight ‘as they face this very, very difficult anniversary’

Australia has announced that it will hold a national memorial service next month to remember the victims on board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 when it was downed nearly a year ago.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Monday that 39 of the 298 passengers and crew aboard the ill-fated flight had "called Australia home”.

"We took the families of flight MH17 into our hearts a year ago," ABC News quoted Abbott as saying as he added that the families of the victims had been invited to attend the anniversary event in Canberra.

"I hope that this service might help to sustain them as they face this very, very difficult anniversary,” he said. "This service will remember those who lost their lives and it will give thanks to those who were involved in the recovery and the investigation."

The prime minister has also announced that a memorial will be set up at Parliament House to remember the Australian victims, among whom were a teacher, a nun, a married couple both employed as doctors and a businessman with his three grandchildren, ABC reported.

Over the weekend, Malaysia had announced it would hold a memorial service in July to pay tribute to those on board the Boeing 777, which had been en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it went down in eastern Ukraine on July 17.

Transport Minister Seri Liow Tiong Lai had said that separate memorial services would be held in Australia and the Netherlands -- whose nationals made up two thirds of MH17 passengers.

"Malaysia Airlines is willing to fly the families of victims to the Netherlands for its memorial service on July 17 should they want to attend," The Star quoted him as saying.

Last week, the Dutch public prosecutor’s office announced that experts would re-launch an investigation into the flight.

In September 2014, the Dutch Research Council for Safety released an initial report which said that the crash was due to a "large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside”, denying the pilot had made a mistake.

Days after the Malaysia Airline tragedy last year, Ukraine and the U.S. accused pro-Russian separatists of shooting down the plane, a claim Moscow rejected.

Last Modified: 2015-06-22 10:57:53
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