EgyptAir mechanic a suspect in Russian plane crash

Published January 29th, 2016 - 12:38 GMT

A mechanic working for EgyptAir is suspected of planting a bomb on a Russian passenger aircraft that blew up over Egyptian skies in late October, according to anonymous sources. The man's cousin was reportedly recruited by Daesh in Syria.

To date Egypt has maintained it has found no evidence that the MetroJet flight was brought down by extremism. The flight crashed in the North Sinai Peninsula after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh airport, killing all 224 people on board.

 

A senior security official working for the airline denied claims that any employees had been detained, arrested, or were under suspicion. In addition, an Interior Ministry official also confirmed there had been no arrests.

However the sources, who remained anonymous because of the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation, asserted that the mechanic had been detained, as well as a baggage handler and two airport policemen whom are suspected of assisting him in planting the explosive on board.

"After learning that one of its members had a relative that worked at the airport, [Daesh] delivered a bomb in a handbag to that person," said one of the sources, adding the suspect's cousin was recruited by Daesh in Syria a year and a half ago.

"He was told to not ask any questions and get the bomb on the plane."

A different source claimed, "Two policemen are suspected of playing a role by turning a blind eye to the operation at a security checkpoint. But there is a possibility that they were just not doing their jobs properly."

None of the four suspects have been prosecuted so far, the sources told Reuters.

The crash has severely impacted Egypt's tourism industry.

The Egypt affiliate to Daesh, Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis, is conducting an insurgency in North Sinai, a distance the tourist areas on the coast of the Red Sea.

Western countries and Russia have maintained the suspicion the flight was crashed by a bomb planted on board. Egypt however has to date publicly denied any evidence of foul play.

Any formal charges or official confirmation that a bomb caused the Airbus A321 to crash could lead to Egypt having to compensate the families of the victims.

The senior security official from EgyptAir reported that state security police had investigated all workers at Sharm el-Sheikh airport and found no evidence implicating any of them.

The official source added that state security verified all family connections of the employees and they were all cleared.

A source working at the Interior Ministry confirmed no arrests had been made in connection with the crash.

The online magazine used by Daesh published a photo of the can of a soft drink, Schweppes, to say it was used to make a bomb that crashed the Russian plane. The photo also included a supposed detonator and switch on a blue background, three simple components that if genuine are likely to cause concern for airline safety officials worldwide.


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