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Forensic experts identify another MH17 crash victim, 2 still unaccounted-for

HILVERSUM, THE NETHERLANDS (BNO NEWS) -- Forensic experts in the Netherlands have identified another victim of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, leaving only two people whose remains have not yet been accounted-for, the Dutch government said on Saturday, more than eight months after the crash.

The Dutch Justice and Security Ministry said in a statement that the remains of a Dutch victim were identified this week, bringing the total number of victims identified so far to 296. The name of the victim was not made public but the victim's relatives have already been notified.

The news means that two other victims - all of them Dutch - remain unaccounted-for. "It is possible that information about the two who are missing will become available from the body parts which are in Hilversum," the ministry said, referring to the military barracks near Amsterdam where experts have been working to identify the remains.

A Dutch team is hoping to return to the crash site in eastern Ukraine in April to find more human remains, but it is still unclear whether the security situation will allow such an operation. Scores of relatives are still waiting to receive additional remains from their loved ones as some have only received bone fragments so far.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed near the city of Torez in eastern Ukraine in July 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew in the world's deadliest aviation disaster since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. It is believed that the aircraft was downed by a surface-to-air missile which was fired from separatist-controlled territory, though separatists there have denied being responsible.

A preliminary report by the Dutch Safety Board said that puncture holes in the aircraft's wreckage suggest that small objects penetrated the aircraft in both the cockpit and forward sections. Holes were also found on the cockpit floor. Through analysis, the damage to the body of the aircraft is consistent with "high-energy objects" piercing the aircraft from the outside, they said.

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