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MH17 investigators turn back amid "explosions"

Dutch and Australian forensic investigators on their way to the MH17 crash site in Ukraine turned back on Monday (July 28), after "explosions" in the area, a government spokeswoman in The Hague said.

THE HAGUE: Dutch and Australian forensic investigators on their way to the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 were turned back on Monday (July 28), after "explosions" in the area, a government spokeswoman in The Hague said.

"They have returned in the direction of Donetsk," justice ministry spokeswoman Sentina van der Meer told AFP. "Explosions were heard, and they were warned by the locals."

Ukrainian forces were on Monday battling pro-Russian rebels for control of several towns around the crash site of MH17 in eastern Ukraine, the military said in a statement.

Ukrainian troops had entered the towns of Shakhtarsk and Torez and "battles were continuing for the complete liberation" of the towns of Pervomaysk and Snizhne, the press office for the military operation against the insurgents said.

A joint Dutch and Australian forensics team had left from rebel stronghold Donetsk early Monday in a fresh bid to reach the crash site, where some remains of victims remain exposed to the elements. A visit Sunday was cancelled after heavy bombardments rocked towns nearby.

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