Egyptian-president-says-Russian-plane-downed-deliberately. CAIRO, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Wednesday the Russian airliner that crashed in October was downed by terrorists who were attempting to damage the nation’s tourism industry and Cairo’s relations with Moscow.
During a televised opening address in Egypt’s Vision 2030 conference, Sisi said the person or group responsible for the plane’s demise “aimed to hit Egyptian tourism” and “aimed to spoil relations with Russia.”
“Has terrorism ended? No it has not, but it will if we unite,” Sisi said. His comments offer the first official Egyptian admission that the plane was deliberately downed.
The Metrojet Flight 9268 airliner crashed on Oct. 31, 2014 in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people aboard — including 17 children. The plane departed from the Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport en route to St. Petersburg, Russia, but contact with air control was lost within 23 minutes.
Russia said the plane was brought down in a terrorist attack. Alexander Bortnikov, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service, previously said a handmade explosive with the equivalent of 2.2 pounds of TNT had been placed in the plane’s cargo hold.
A branch of the Isis operating on the Sinai Peninsula posted messages to social media immediately after the crash, claiming to have shot down the jet. Both Russian and Egyptian officials said at the time they didn’t believe those claims to be credible since the plane wasn’t shot down.
The bombing came weeks after Russia launched airstrikes on Syria, targeting both rebels in opposition to President Bashar al-Assad and Islamic State militants. The crash dealt an additional blow to Egypt’s struggling tourism industry, with revenues expected to be down 10 percent compared to last year.