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Thursday 8 June 2023 Dublin: 13°C
Associated Press Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev alongside President Vladimir Putin (file).
# metrojet crash
Moscow concedes for the first time that terror attack could have brought down plane
Russia had refrained from blaming the crash – which killed all 224 people on 31 October – on terrorists.

MOSCOW HAS ACKNOWLEDGED for the first time a terrorist attack could have caused the 31 October Russian plane crash in Egypt, as thousands more tourists were evacuated from the country.

“The possibility of an act of terror is of course there as the reason for what happened,” Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev admitted in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta state newspaper.

Britain and the United States, as well as international investigators, suspect a bomb exploded on board the Metrojet A-321 plane, but Egyptian officials insist there is no evidence yet of an attack on the aircraft which jihadists claim to have downed.

Russia had also refrained from blaming the crash, which killed all 224 people on board, on terrorists, although President Vladimir Putin on Friday suspended all flights to Egypt.

Israel, which has strong intelligence links to the neighbouring Sinai where the Airbus came down while en route from Egypt’s resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to Saint Petersburg, also sided with the attack theory.

“There is a strong probability that this is an attack,” Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon told Israeli reporters today.

“From what we know and what we understand, I would be surprised if it turns out that it was not an attack.”

Mideast Egypt Russian Plane Crash Associated Press The empty arrival hall at Sharm el-Sheikh Airport. Associated Press

The head of Airbus said no technical fault has yet been detected for the crash of the A-321.

“I can say that so far, what we got from the investigation didn’t trigger any action, technical action on our side, regarding the A-321 fleet,” said Fabrice Bregier, the European manufacturer’s chief executive officer.

“But we need to wait for the conclusion of the investigations,” Bregier said at the Dubai Airshow.

Jihadist shot dead 

Amid the tourist exodus from Egypt, a senior operative of the Islamic State jihadist group, Ashraf Ali Ali Hassanein al-Gharabli, was shot dead in an exchange of fire in Cairo after police tried to arrest him, the interior ministry said.

The IS group’s branch in the Sinai claimed responsibility after the Russian plane crash.

© – AFP 2015

Read: Security at the airport that doomed Russian liner took off from had major holes

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