MS Risk Blog

Egypt Announces That There Is No Evidence of Terrorism in Russian Plane Crash

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On Monday, 14 December, Egyptian officials reported that so far, they have found no evidence of terrorism or other illegal action linked to the 31 October crash of a Russian passenger plane in Sinai, which killed all 224 people on board. The plane came down en route to Russia from the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

While Russian and Western governments have previously reported that the Airbus A321, which was operated by Metrojet, was likely brought down by a bomb, with a group linked to the so-called Islamic State (IS) group claiming responsibility and stating that it had managed to smuggle an explosive on board, Egypt’s civil aviation ministry has indicated that it has completed a preliminary report on the crash, adding that it had so far found no evidence of a criminal act. In a statement, the ministry disclosed that “the technical investigative committee has so far not found anything indicating any illegal intervention or terrorist action.” Russia had previously reported that a bomb brought down the Metrojet Airbus, after finding what it said were “traces of foreign explosives” on the debris. It has vowed to “find and punish” the perpetrators.”

In response to Monday’s findings, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov re-iterated that “our experts concluded this was a terrorist attack.”

What is known is that the plane crash has affected Egypt’s tourism industry, which is a cornerstone of the economy. According to the country’s tourism minister, tourism revenues for 2015 will be at least 10% below last year’s.  The plane took off from Sharm el-Sheikh, a Red Sea resort that is popular with British and Russian holidaymakers. Furthermore, the incident has raised serious questions about airport security, which has prompted both Britain and Russia to suspend flights into Sharm el-Sheikh. Egypt is now also facing a two-year Islamist insurgency in the Sinai, which has killed hundreds of soldiers and police. Shortly after the 31 October plane crash, IS stated that the bombing was in response to Russian airstrikes in Syria. Last month, IS’ magazine published a photo of what it claimed was the improvised bomb that brought down the airliner. The picture in Dabiqu showed a Schweppes Gold soda can and what appears to be a detonator and a switch.

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