Russian charter plane carrying 224 people crashed in a mountainous part of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula killing all on board
Egyptian officials reported that The Islamic State (IS) group affiliate in Egypt claimed that it downed the plane, without saying how, but there has been no official word on the cause of the crash.
The plane with 214 Russian and three Ukranian passengers, and seven crew, had taken off from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in the south Sinai bound for Saint Petersburg. It lost contact with air traffic control 23 minutes later.
Egyptian security and medical officials said there were no survivors, and that the bodies of the passengers and debris were spread out over an area of five square kilometres (two square miles).
The wreckage was found roughly 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of the North Sinai town of El-Arish, Egyptian officials said.
The IS affiliate, which is waging a deadly insurgency in the Sinai, claimed that “the soldiers of the caliphate succeeded in bringing down a Russian plane” there.
It said this was in revenge for Russian air strikes against militants in Syria, where IS controls territories that straddle Iraq.
Three military experts said IS in Sinai does not have surface-to-air missiles capable of hitting a plane at high altitude.
But they could not exclude the possibility of a bomb on board or a surface-to-air missile strike if the plane had descended for an emergency landing.
The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Moscow’s emergency ministry to dispatch rescue teams to Egypt.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his French counterpart Francois Hollande said they had sent their condolences to Moscow.