Egypt denies Sharm El-Sheikh airport arrests

Tuesday 17-11-2015 12:59 PM
Egypt denies Sharm El-Sheikh airport arrests

CAIRO, Nov. 17 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt denied on Tuesday the arrest of two employees at Sharm El-Sheikh airport, countering a report by Reuters that two were arrested in connection with the Russian plane crash.

The interior ministry said this "news is completely untrue", in a statement on its Facebook page.

News of the arrests emerged shortly after Russia announced that the plane was downed in a terrorist act by a homemade explosive device.

The Egyptian civil aviation ministry also denied the arrests in a statement but did not respond to the Russian statements on the explosive device.

According to Sputnik news agency, the Russian announcement came after a meeting in which Russian officials discussed the "final results" of an investigation into the cause of the crash of a Russian charter flight in the Sinai Peninsula late October.

The fatal crash left all 224 passengers and crew dead after the jet broke up in midair. However, there were many theories on the cause of  the crash, ranging from malfunction, to human error and sabotage.

Egypt is leading an international committee to investigate the cause of the crash. The committee said on Nov. 7 that all "scenarios are on the table."

Sinai Province, the Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State Fighters in Iraq and Syria, claimed responsibility for the crash twice.

While initially, the group's claims were dismissed, they were eventually taken more seriously as major Western states started backing the theory that the plane could have been brought down by a bomb. Both the U.S. and the UK entertained this possibility.

Earlier in November, the U.K. halted all flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh and Russia suspended all flights to Egypt before banning EgyptAir flights from entering Moscow.

Egyptian authorities have urged local and international media not to jump to conclusions until the international committee tasked with investigating the incident announces the results, just as the local media cried foul, claiming that Egypt is facing a massive Western conspiracy to scare off tourists and bring the economy to its knees.

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