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Egyptian and Russian crash experts examined the debris in the Sinai desert

Russia plane crash: ‘Terror act’ downed A321 over Egypt’s Sinai

WT24 Desk

Russia’s security chief says an act of terror brought down the Russian A321 airliner in Egypt last month, killing all 224 people on board, BBC reports.  “Traces of foreign explosives” were found on debris from the Airbus plane, FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov told Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Putin vowed to “find and punish” those behind the attack over the Sinai peninsula. A branch of so-called Islamic State said it downed the plane.  Nearly all the dead were Russians.

Mr Bortnikov said a bomb had been planted on board the Metrojet plane, equivalent to up to 1kg of TNT. The Kremlin website carried a transcript of the meeting.  The bomb shattered the plane mid-air on 31 October, he said, “which explains the wide dispersal of fuselage pieces”.

Mr Putin said that Russia must hunt those responsible “indefinitely, find out who the individuals were”.  “We’ll look for them everywhere, wherever they are hiding. We’ll find them in any corner of the planet and punish them.”

Russia has offered a $50m (£33m) reward for information on the Sinai plane attackers.

Sinai Province, a branch of Islamic State (IS), said in a statement on 31 October that it had destroyed the plane because of Russian air strikes in Syria.  IS also said it was responsible for the multiple shootings and bombings in Paris on Friday night which killed 129 people and wounded hundreds more.

Heavier Russian raids

Most of the A321 passengers were Russian tourists flying home from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Metrojet is the brand name of Kogalymavia, an airline based in western Siberia.

Mr Putin said that Russia’s air strikes in Syria “must not only be continued – they must be intensified so that the criminals understand that retribution is inevitable”. Russian warplanes are supporting Syrian government forces against various rebel groups, including IS and other Islamists.

Russia’s military commanders were also at the meeting with Mr Putin and the Federal Security Service (FSB) chief. Commenting later on the G20 talks, Mr Cameron said everybody recognised the need for compromise and Russian opinion was changing.

“I think there are some signs, some signs, that they are focusing more on Isil (IS) but we need to see that continued,” the prime minister said. The Sinai Province militants have operated in northern Sinai for two years, attacking Egyptian security forces, hundreds of whom have died in the violence.

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