Friday 21 October 2016

Russian plane crash in Sinai was 'not brought down by Isis terrorists'

224 people, including 17 children, died in the crash on 31 October

Published 14/12/2015 | 10:11

The wreckage of the Russian jet brought down in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula by a suspected Isis bomb
The wreckage of the Russian jet brought down in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula by a suspected Isis bomb

Egyptian authorities have claimed there is no evidence a Russian jet downed in October with more than 200 people on board was attacked by terrorists.

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It comes despite Russian and British investigations claiming the plane was brought down after a bomb is believed to have been stored in the hold with an Isis affiliate claiming the attack in November.

A preliminary report on the crash on 31 October alleges investigators with the civil aviation ministry have "so far not found anything indicating any illegal intervention or terrorist action".

The plane, operated by Metrojet and carrying 224 people, including 17 children, lost contact with air control just 23 minutes after departing from Sharm el-Sheikh en route to St Petersburg.

While Egyptian investigators believe the crash was not caused by a “terrorist action”, Russian authorities have said they believe the crash was an attack.

Vladimir Putin vowed “retribution” on the individuals behind the crash, stepping up airstrikes over Syrian territory held by Isis in November. 

Last month, Egyptian investigators said they were “90 per cent” certain audio recovered from black box caught the sound of a bomb prior to the crash.

In November a terror group affiliated with Isis released a statement online claiming the crash: "The fighters of the Islamic State were able to down a Russian plane over Sinai province that was carrying over 220 Russian crusaders.”

But while the latest from Egypt’s investigation contradicts previous statements, the vague wording from chief investigator Ayman el-Muqadam indicates more information may be forthcoming.

Egyptian authorities were criticised after the crash as security measures at Sharm el-Sheikh airport were heavily scrutinised, with the slow pace of the investigation also coming under fire.

The tourism industry – a cornerstone of Egypt’s economy – was badly affected in the weeks following the crash as the both Britain and Russia moved to evacuate their citizens from the previously popular destination.

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