Britain suspends flights from Sinai amid bomb fears

UK suspends all flights from Egypt’s Sharm el Sheikh to Britain over Russian plane crash in Sinai

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Britain said on Wednesday that the Russian plane which crashed in Egypt after taking off may have been caused by an explosive device.

Prime Minister David Cameron said that the UK halted all flights that were scheduled to take off from Sharm el Sheikh to Britain on Wednesday while a security investigation was started, and there would not be any departures from other locations as well.

"While the investigation is still ongoing we cannot say categorically why the Russian jet crashed," Prime Minister David Cameron's office said in a statement.

"But as more information has come to light we have become concerned that the plane may well have been brought down by an explosive device."

“In light of this and as a precautionary measure we have decided that flights due to leave Sharm for the UK this evening will be delayed. That will allow time for a team of UK aviation experts, currently traveling to Sharm, to make an assessment of the security arrangements in place at the airport and to identify whether any further action is required," he added. 

"We expect this assessment to be completed tonight. In terms of flights from the UK to Sharm, there are no more departures [scheduled] today.” 

On the other hand, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Wednesday that the Federal Aviation Administration has recommended civil aviation to refrain from flying at lower height over Sinai, stating a potential risk linked to extremist activity.

The Russian-operated Airbus which was carrying 224 passengers crashed in the Sinai peninsula on October 31, shortly after taking off from Sharm el Sheikh on its way to St. Petersburg.

Russian investigators argue that the plane may have broke up in mid-air, yet reiterated the fact that its still too early to draw conclusions from this. DAESH's affiliate in Egypt, Wilayet Sinai (Sinai Province), claimed that it took down the Russian airliner on Saturday, killing all on board.

However Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said the likely cause of the crash of a Russian passenger jet that killed 224 people on Saturday was technical problems. Thus dismissing claims of DAESH responsibility, Ismail told a press conference on Saturday night.

TRTWorld and agencies