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Malaysian authorities have approved the release of Kim Jong Nam’s body after receiving a letter from his family requesting the remains be returned to North Korea, the Malaysian prime minister said in a statement on Thursday.

The murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un last month at the Kuala Lumpur airport triggered a diplomatic row between the two countries, both of which barred each others’ nationals from leaving.

In a statement, Malaysian premier Najib Razak announced the safe return of nine Malaysians who have been barred from leaving North Korea, saying they were due to arrive in Kuala Lumpur on Friday morning.

Malaysia lifted the travel restriction it had imposed on North Koreans leaving the country.

Malaysian police say the deadly nerve agent VX was found on Mr Kim’s face and eyes.

Two women have been detained in Malaysia in connection with the killing.

Mr Najib said in the statement: “Our police investigation into this serious crime on Malaysian soil will continue.”

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