Iranians Seeking Asylum Used Stolen Passports on Missing Malaysian Jet
Interpol has released the identities of two Iranians who were traveling with stolen passports on board missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The two men were reportedly seeking asylum in Europe.
The Boeing 777 lost contact with air controllers shortly after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on Friday. The vanished plane was carrying 239 passengers.
Below is more from FoxNews.com:
Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble identified the men as Pouri Nourmohammadi, 19, and Delavar Seyedmohammaderza, 29. Noble said that the two men had traveled to Malaysia from Tehran using Iranian passports, but had secured stolen Italian and Austrian passports in Kuala Lumpur for their journey to Beijing and Amsterdam, for which both had tickets and planned to travel together.
Malaysian authorities said that Nourmohammadi planned to proceed from Amsterdam to Frankfurt, Germany, where his mother lives. The woman contacted authorities when her son failed to arrive as planned. The BBC reported that Seyedmohammaderza's intended final destination was Copenhagen, Denmark.
The disclosure by Interpol confirmed a report aired late Monday by the BBC's Persian service, which cited a friend of both men who hosted them at his home in Kuala Lumpur as they prepared to travel to Beijing, the final destination of the missing plane.
Over the weekend, the passports were identified as belonging to 30-year-old Austrian Christian Kozel and 37-year-old Italian Luigi Maraldi. Both men had reported that their passports had been stolen while they were traveling in Thailand.
It was not made immediately clear how the passports were sent from Thailand to Kuala Lumpur.
Sources told Fox News it is not uncommon for Iranians to travel to and from Malaysia, or to buy one-way tickets through third parties. They said the fact that the man believed to have purchased the tickets on behalf of two Iranians traveling with stolen passports seemed to be seeking the cheapest fares within a range of dates does not jibe with typical terrorism plots. The sources familiar with Iranian travel patterns also said use of stolen passports is common for those involved in the drug trade, those wanting to study or work abroad and even Iranians who seek political, religious or social refuge.