Egypt plane crash: intelligence has not been shared with us, Cairo says

Egypt plane crash: intelligence has not been shared with us, Cairo says

Foreign minister Sameh Shoukry also says UK, US and others failed to respond to Egypt’s calls for greater coordination to fight terrorism before crash


The UK, US and others failed to respond to Egypt’s calls for greater coordination to fight terrorism and have not shared intelligence with Cairo about the crash of a Russian passenger plane last week, the country’s foreign minister has claimed.


Sameh Shoukry made the intervention on Saturday after several countries decided to block flights to the popular holiday resort of Sharm el-Sheikh following the Metrojet plane crash which killed all 224 people on board.

He said an investigation was under way to find the cause of the crash, but stopped short of confirming the UK’s belief that a bomb was used to deliberately bring down the Airbus A321.

A group affiliated to the Islamic State, which is known to operate in the Sinai peninsular near to where the plane crashed, claimed responsibility for the crash last Saturday. David Cameron has since said UK intelligence services have gathered information suggesting an explosive device was used to blow up the plane midflight, and has therefore grounded all British planes bound for the region.

Shoukry said: “The information we have heard about has not been shared with Egyptian security agencies in detail. We were expecting that the technical information would be provided to us.”

Meanwhile, just 24 hours after Vladimir Putin criticised the British government for banning all flights to and from the resort, he made a dramatic U-turn and went one step further, suspending air traffic to and from all airports in Egypt.

In a fresh blow to Egypt’s already struggling tourism industry, he also began the return of all Russian tourists holidaying in the country. Approximately 3 million tourists visited in 2014.

It is thought that as many as 79,000 Russians are currently there, mainly in Sharm el-Sheikh, and Moscow has begun repatriating tourists. They have imposed similar travel restrictions to those brought in by the UK, forcing passengers to leave their hold luggage behind.

The move will further add to the chaotic scenes at the airport, where thousands of holidaymakers are stranded. Egyptian authorities said on Friday the airport would be unable to accommodate the mountains of luggage being left behind.

Around 1,400 British tourists have been brought back to the UK but another 2,600 are still stuck at the Red Sea resort. Only eight of the scheduled 29 flights departed on Friday, however more flights are scheduled to arrive back to Manchester and Luton on Saturday.


 UK’s Egypt ambassador: we will get stranded British tourists home ASAP – video

In a further blow to the region’s security, it has also emerged that a plane carrying British holidaymakers to Sharm el-Sheikh came within 300 metres (1,000ft) of a missile as it neared the Egyptian airport in August.

The government confirmed a Thomson Airways flight from London Stansted to the Red Sea resort, carrying 189 passengers, took evasive action after the missile was spotted in its trajectory by the pilot.

The crew of flight TOM 476 landed the plane safely and passengers were not advised of the incident, which occurred on 23 August. The incident will underline fears that regional instability could threaten flights, and questions have been raised over the decision not to inform the public of the near miss.

A government spokesman said: “We investigated the reported incident at the time and concluded that it was not a targeted attack and was likely to be connected to routine exercises being conducted by the Egyptian military in the area at the time.”

Egypt plane crash: intelligence has not been shared with us, Cairo says Egypt plane crash: intelligence has not been shared with us, Cairo says Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 5:57 PM Rating: 5

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