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Missing plane: Stolen passport ‘no terror link’

A man travelling on a stolen passport on a missing Malaysian jet was a young Iranian who is not believed to have terrorist links, Malaysian police say.

They say the 19-year-old – named as Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad – was probably migrating to Germany.

Investigations are continuing into a second man using stolen documents.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing went missing on Saturday, after taking off with 239 on board. The search has been widened.

Experts have said the presence of two people with stolen passports on a plane was a breach of security, but is relatively common in a region regarded as a hub for illegal migration.

Malaysia’s police chief Inspector Gen Khalid Abu Bakar said the young Iranian was “not likely to be a member of a terrorist group”, adding that the authorities were in contact with his mother in Germany, who had been expecting her son to arrive in Frankfurt.

The authorities’ statement supports an account given to the BBC by a young Iranian in Kuala Lumpur who says he was a school-friend of one of the men who boarded the airliner using a stolen passport.

He says the friend and another Iranian, also using a stolen passport, stayed with him before taking the Malaysia Airlines flight, and that they had hoped to settle in Europe.

Reports from Thailand suggest that the tickets of the two men, routing them to Amsterdam via Beijing, had been bought through a Thai travel agent and an Iranian middleman.

Officials say they still have no idea what went wrong with the aircraft.

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