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Egypt: Russian Jet ‘Not Downed By Terrorists’

Contrary to the initial findings of the Egyptian probe into the plane crash, Russia believes the jet was brought down by a bomb.

Egypt plane crash

Egyptian officials say there is no evidence to believe the Russian jet which crashed in Sinai was brought down by terrorists.

A preliminary report on the disaster on 31 October, which killed all 224 people on board, said investigators had “so far not found anything indicating any illegal intervention or terrorist action”.

Contrary to the initial findings of the Egyptian investigation into the plane crash, Russia believes the Metrojet was brought down by a bomb.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment directly on the Egyptian statement, but told reporters in a conference call, “can I remind you of the conclusion of our experts from the special services, who came to the conclusion that it was a terrorist action.”

Last month, a member of the air accident investigation team in Egypt said investigators were “90% sure” the noise heard on the black box of the airliner seconds before it crashed was caused by a bomb.

The US and Britain have also previously said an explosive device is likely to have brought down the aircraft.

A group affiliated to Islamic State has claimed responsibility for bringing down the Airbus 321-200, but has not provided any evidence to confirm it was behind the attack.

It claimed the bombing was in response to Russian airstrikes in Syria.

But Egypt’s civil aviation ministry on Monday said it had so far found no evidence of a criminal act.

However, the statement by chief investigator Ayman el Muqadam, implied the investigating team had not reached its final conclusions as it was “continuing its work”.

He said the search for wreckage extended more than 10 miles from the crash site – which investigators had visited 15 times.

Wreckage from the site is being moved to a safe location in Cairo to be further examined.

The aircraft’s 38 computers, plus two engine computers have also been looked at, while details of any repairs to the jet since it was built in 1997 are being checked out.

Security at Sharm el Sheikh airport has become a widespread concern since the crash with the UK, Russia and various other countries suspending flights from the Red Sea resort.

British Airways and easyJet have cancelled all flights to and from Sharm el Sheikh until the New Year.

Monarch has extended the cancellation of flights to and from the UK to the airport up to and including January 24, 2016.

Aviation experts identified serious security flaws at the airport in the wake of the crash.

Problems including a malfunctioning key baggage scanning device, lax searches at an entry gate for plane food and fuel and bribe-taking by police officers were cited by officials.

Additional levels of baggage screening and searches were implemented on a short-term basis, and the British government has been working with Egyptian authorities on long-term sustainable measures to make the airport safe.

Tens of thousands of tourists were left stranded at the resort in the aftermath of the disaster with extra flights organised by airlines to get families home after the security alert.

Passengers described their experiences, including seeing security staff asleep and baggage checkers playing games on their phones.

Security staff were said to be “disinterested” and “liquids in the hand luggage were not even commented on”.

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