Moscow, Russia – Russia confirmed that the charter jet crash was a terrorist act, as it was brought down with a homemade bomb when it was flying over the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, two weeks ago. All the 224 people aboard the plane were killed.
Alexander Bortnikov, head of the Federal Security Service (FSB), stated in a national broadcast that the improvised device exploded moments after the charter jet took off from the city of Sharm el-Sheikh. According to him, the plane “disintegrated in midair,” explaining why all the pieces were widely dispersed.
A child’s shoe is seen in front of debris from a Russian airliner which crashed
After the accident took place on October, 31, intelligence agencies of England and the U.S. suggested that it was due to a bomb attack. Also, the Islamic State claimed themselves as responsible for the attack a few hours after, although they didn’t provide any evidence to support that statement.
President Barack Obama, earlier this month, stated that there was a chance that a bomb was on the plane and that they were investigating it very seriously. U.S. military officials also said that a satellite had detected a heat flash, probably the result of an explosion, although at that time the evidence wasn’t conclusive.
Nevertheless, the first announcement from the Kremlin suggesting that it was a terrorist act was initially criticized by leaders, although it is has been confirmed now. However, Dmitri Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, stated they are not yet sure if the act was work of the Islamic State, according to The New York Times.
A great part of tourist flights heading to the region have been suspended due to safety concerns after the plane crash. There is a rumour that a member of the airport staff carried the bomb aboard the plane, although this hasn’t been confirmed.
Russia will strike back
The homemade explosive device contained up to 2.2 pounds of T.N.T according to the FSB, saying that other “foreign” explosive materials and objects were examined. In order to gather more information, Russia has offered $50 million to any lead that could get them to capture those who perpetrated the attack.
“We will search for them everywhere, no matter where they are hiding. We will find them in any place on the planet and will punish them,” said Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, in a meeting with his security council broadcasted on national TV. “Our military work in Syria must not only be continued but strengthened so that criminals understand that punishment is inevitable,” he added.
He announced that The Ministry of Defense and his military groups were given the order to start drawing up attack and defense plans. On the other hand, the Islamic State branch on Sinai claimed that the attack came as a response to Russia’s deployment in Syria, “defending” President Bashar al-Assad.
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt’s president, was reached through a spokesman who hasn’t answered yet to the comments made by Russia on the attack. Officials of the country haven’t discarded the possibility of terrorism, although they said they want to wait until the investigations are complete.
Egypt’s authorities detained two employees of Sharm el-Sheikh airport linked with the crash of the jet, according to Reuters. The plane was travelling to St. Petersburg, Russia, when it exploded in the air. Also, these authorities stated that 17 people are being held, two of them believed to help to plant the bomb on the plane.
Source: The New York Times