Russia Suspends Flights to Egypt following Sinai Plane Crash
Russia has suspended all flights to Egypt following indications that the crash near Sharm el-Sheikh was caused by a bomb.
President Vladimir Putin made the announcement after UK investigators said they believed a bomb was put in the plane’s hold prior to take-off, killing all 224 people on board.
Militants linked to ISIS say they downed the plane.
The Metrojet Airbus A321 was flying from Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg when it came down in Sinai on Saturday. Most of the victims were Russian.
Militants from the Sinai Province group, linked to ISIS, have not said how they destroyed the plane. ISIS has called for a war against both Russia and the US over their air strikes in Syria.
UK officials received intelligence based on intercepted communications between militants in the Sinai Peninsula, indicating an explosive device may have been put inside or on top of the luggage just before the plane took off.
Experts in Moscow are investigating pieces of debris from the crash site, Russian officials say.
Russia is also working to repatriate as many as 45,000 Russian holidaymakers currently in Egypt – and an official said it could take up to a month to bring them home.
Since November 4, several countries have joined Britain in restricting travel to Sharm el-Sheikh. They include Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.
Tourism contributed more than 12% to Egypt’s economy in 2013 and the latest measures will hit it hard, analysts say. One in five foreign tourists in Egypt is Russian.