Russia suspends all flights to Egypt

Published November 6th, 2015 - 04:04 GMT

A Kremlin spokesman said that Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the halt of flights to Egypt in the aftermath of the Russian plane crash earlier this week, which left all 224 on board dead, according to state- affiliated Russian news agency Sputnik.

The decision came one day after top UK and US officials expressed their view that a bomb may have downed the civilian airplane over the restive Sinai.

Just before meeting with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during his first official visit to the UK Thursday, Britain suspended flights back and forth between Sharm el-Sheikh and Prime Minister David Cameron said that "it's more likely than not" that the Russian airliner was brought down by a bomb.

Hours later, US President Barack Obama said in a radio interview that "it's certainly a possibility" that a bomb explosion was the reason behind the crash. 

The plane's black boxes, which were recovered on the day the plane crashed, are currently being analysed in Cairo. 

Egypt's Aviation Ministry, however, stressed there is "no physical evidence" supporting any of the "rumors" on the reasons of the crash.

The early morning crash last Saturday left debris strewn over some 20 squared kilometers of desert in Hasna area near Arish in North Sinai. The majority of the victims were Russians but four were Ukrainians and one person was from Belarus. 

A Daesh (ISIS) affiliate in North Sinai claimed responsibility for the crash twice in separate statements, one of which was hours after the plane crash but it was initially dismissed locally and internationally. 

In the second statement which was an audio recording released on Wednesday, the speaker said the downing of the plane marks the one-year anniversary of pledging allegiance to Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq.

Aswat Masriya couldn't independently verify the authenticity of the recording. 

Global intelligence firm Stratfor in an online report published Nov. 2, said that the "most probable explanation for the downed plane is the existence of an explosive device on board."

Stratfor added that Sharm el-Sheikh airport is known for its "poor" state of security.

Sisi said in a joint press conference with Cameron, that Britain had demanded ten months before the attack reassurances on the security procedures in Sharm el-Sheikh airport.


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