|Malaysian Army soldiers wait to carry coffins during a repatriation ceremony at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. The first batch of the remains of the Malaysians killed in the MH17 disaster returned home on Friday. (Xinhua/Chong Voon Chung)
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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- A special plane carrying the remains of 20 Malaysian victims killed on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 arrived Friday at Kuala Lumpur International Airport from Amsterdam, as Malaysia marked a national day of mourning.
The coffins and urns were covered with the Jalur Gemilang, Malaysia's national flag, and were lowered from the plane by Malaysian soldiers.
Malaysian Supreme Head of State Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah and his consort Tuanku Hajah Haminah, Prime Minister Najib Razak, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, cabinet ministers and their deputies, ambassadors, and the next-of-kin of the victims waited at the airport.
All Malaysians nationwide observed a one-minute silence in honor of the MH17 victims at 10:54 a.m. as the last of the 20 coffins was carried into a hearse.
"Last month, 43 Malaysian lives were taken over Eastern Ukraine, " Najib said in a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office.
"Today we mourn the loss of our people. Today, we begin to bring them home. Our thoughts and our prayers are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives. Today we stand with you, united as one," he added.
On July 17, MH17, a Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, went down in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.