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sinai plane crash


An act of terror brought down the Russian A321 airliner in Egypt last month, killing all 224 people on board, says Russia’s security chief Alexander Bortnikov.

“Traces of foreign explosives” were found on debris from the Airbus plane, FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov told Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Vladimir Putin vowed to “find and punish” those behind the attack over the Sinai peninsula. A branch of ISIS said it downed the plane.

Nearly all the dead were Russians.

Alexander Bortnikov said a bomb had been planted on board the Metrojet plane, equivalent to up to 1kg of TNT. The Kremlin website carried a transcript of the meeting.Sinai plane crash 2015

The bomb shattered the plane mid-air on October 31, he said, “which explains the wide dispersal of fuselage pieces”.

Vladimir Putin said that Russia must hunt those responsible “indefinitely, find out who the individuals were”.

“We’ll look for them everywhere, wherever they are hiding. We’ll find them in any corner of the planet and punish them.”

Russia has offered a $50 million reward for information on the Sinai plane attackers.

Sinai Province, a branch of ISIS, said in a statement on October 31 that it had destroyed the plane because of Russian air strikes in Syria.

ISIS also said it was responsible for the multiple shootings and bombings in Paris on November 13 which killed 129 people and wounded hundreds more.

Most of the A321 passengers were Russian tourists flying home from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Metrojet is the brand name of Kogalymavia, an airline based in western Siberia.

Vladimir Putin said that Russia’s air strikes in Syria “must not only be continued – they must be intensified so that the criminals understand that retribution is inevitable”.

Russian warplanes are supporting Syrian government forces against various rebel groups, including ISIS and other Islamists.

Russia’s military commanders were also at the meeting with Vladimir Putin and the Federal Security Service (FSB) chief.

Vladimir Putin was speaking after separate meetings at the G20 summit in Turkey, with President Barack Obama on November 15, and UK PM David Cameron on November 16.

The Syrian conflict was the focus of their talks.

The Sinai Province militants have operated in northern Sinai for two years, attacking Egyptian security forces, hundreds of whom have died in the violence.


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.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

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.

According to Egypt’s PM Sharif Ismail, a technical fault was the most likely to cause Russia’s Kogalymavia plane crash in Sinai dismissing claims from Islamic State militants that they were responsible.

An investigation is under way after all 224 people on board were killed.

However, three airlines – Emirates, Air France and Lufthansa – have decided not to fly over the Sinai Peninsula until more information is available.

The plane’s black boxes have been found and sent for analysis, officials said.

The Kogalymavia Airbus A-321 came down early on October 31, shortly after leaving the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for the Russian city of St Petersburg.

Egypt’s civil aviation minister Hossam Kamal said there had been no sign of any problems on board the flight, contradicting earlier reports that the pilot had asked to make an emergency landing.

An Egyptian official had previously said that before the plane lost contact with air traffic controllers, the pilot had said the aircraft was experiencing technical problems and he intended to try to land at the nearest airport.

Russian and French investigators have joined the Egyptian-led probe, along with experts from Airbus, which is headquartered in France.Egypt Sinai plane crash

A criminal case had been opened against Kogalymavia for “violation of rules of flight and preparation for them”, Russia’s Ria news agency reported.

Police have searched the company’s offices.

Kogalymavia spokeswoman Oksana Golovina insisted the 18-year-old plane was “fully, 100% airworthy” and added that the pilot had 12,000 hours of flying experience.

In Sinai itself, where jihadists groups are active, militants allied to IS made a claim on social media that they brought down flight KGL9268.

However, Egyptian PM Sharif Ismail dismissed the claim, saying experts had confirmed that a plane could not be downed at the altitude the Airbus 321 was flying at.

Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov told Interfax news agency that “such reports cannot be considered true”. No evidence had been seen that indicated the plane was targeted, he said.

Egypt’s civilian aviation ministry said the plane had been at an altitude of 31,000ft when it disappeared.

Security experts say a plane flying at that altitude would be beyond the range of a shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile (Manpad), which Sinai militants are known to possess.

However, German carrier Lufthansa said it would avoid flying over the Sinai peninsula “as long as the cause for today’s crash has not been clarified”.

On Saturday evening, Air France-KLM and Emirates said they were following suit.

British Airways and easyJet said their routes were regularly reviewed, but that they had no plans to alter their routes to and from Sharm el-Sheikh.