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Friday, December 19, 2014, 6:09 p.m.
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Police team turns back from Ukraine crash site

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published July 28, 2014 at 9:40 a.m. Updated July 28, 2014 at 10:57 a.m.

SHAKHTARSK, Ukraine — Heavy fighting raged Monday around the Malaysia Airlines debris field, once again preventing an international police team charged with securing the site from even getting there.

Government troops have stepped up their push to win back territory from pro-Russian separatists in fighting that the United Nations said Monday has killed more than 1,100 people in four months.

The international delegation of Australian and Dutch police and forensic experts stopped Monday in Shakhtarsk, a town about 20 miles from the fields where the Boeing 777 was brought down.

Sounds of regular shelling could be heard from Shakhtarsk and residents were seen fleeing town in cars.

Associated Press reporters saw a high-rise apartment block in Shakhtarsk being hit by at least two rounds of artillery.

The mandate of the police team is to secure the currently rebel-controlled area so that comprehensive investigations can begin and any remaining bodies can be recovered.

The second cancelled site visit over two days has strained tempers among the observation team.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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