Russia suspends Egypt flights
Friday, 06 November 2015 14:37
Media captionWere Islamic militants behind Sinai crash?

Russia has ordered the suspension of 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.

The UK has suspended flights to Sharm el-Sheikh and is bringing Britons home.

Militants linked to the Islamic State group (IS) 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, killing all 224 people on board. Most of the victims were Russian.

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Militants from the Sinai Province group, linked to the so-called Islamic State (IS), have not said how they destroyed the plane. IS has called for a war against both Russia and the US over their air strikes in Syria.

UK officials said they had received intelligence based on intercepted communications between militants in the Sinai Peninsula, indicating a bomb caused the crash.

However, both Egypt and Russia earlier insisted it was too early to draw conclusions.

Media captionOne British tourist at Sharm el-Sheikh airport described extra security as "brilliant"

Delays explained

Thousands of holidaymakers, 19,000 from the UK, remain stranded in Sharm el-Sheikh.

Many Britons were due to return on Friday but one of the main airlines operating from the resort, Easyjet, says its plans have been sharply curtailed by the Egyptian authorities, with only two of its 10 flights leaving.

Egyptian Aviation Minister Hossam Kamal denied banning any flights, but said there was an issue of "capacity" at the airport, with extra security and more planes than usual.

Image copyrightEPAImage caption The plane disintegrated in mid-air, officials say

As the investigation into the crashed airliner continues, BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says that although British officials have not ruled out a technical fault, they think that is increasingly unlikely.

New intelligence was received on Wednesday. The UK government's Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) has spent the past few days assessing what brought the plane down.

Media captionHow important is tourism to Egypt's economy?

Security service investigators suspect someone with access to the aircraft's baggage compartment inserted an explosive device inside or on top of the luggage just before the plane took off.


Sinai Province militants

  • Most active insurgent group in Egypt, with 1,000-1,500 members
  • Operating in Sinai Peninsula since 2011
  • Pledged allegiance to Islamic State group in November 2014
  • Carries out suicide bombings, shootings, beheadings; dozens of Egyptian soldiers killed.

Sinai Province: Egypt's most dangerous militant group


US President Barack Obama told a CBS radio station on Thursday that he thought there was "a possibility" that there was a bomb on the downed jet.

"We're taking that very seriously," he said.

Since Wednesday, several countries have joined Britain in restricting travel to Sharm el-Sheikh.

Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who has been on a visit to the UK, told reporters that security at the airport was tightened 10 months ago at the UK's request.

Egypt is leading the investigation into the air disaster, with the help of Russian and other foreign experts.


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source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34743216#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

 

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