Russia has now officially confirmed that the passenger plane that crashed over Sinai in Egypt last month was downed by a bomb. The October 31 plane crash had killed 224 passengers and crew members, almost all of them Russian. The Federal Security Service (FSB) chief Alexander Bortnikov told President Vladimir Putin, “One can unequivocally say that it was a terrorist act.”
Russia promises $50M reward to find those responsible
President Putin has vowed to find and punish terrorists responsible for bringing down the Metrojet airliner. He has announced a $50 million reward for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible, according to the Interfax news agency. FSB said a bomb went off on the passenger plane, causing it to crash. Earlier, an ISIS affiliate had claimed responsibility for the attack. Russia is carrying out airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria.
Bortnikov told Putin that investigators studied debris, personal belongings, and baggage from the plane. They concluded that an improvised bomb with at least 1kg of TNT exploded mid-air. Investigators had found “traces of foreign explosives” in the aircraft’s debris. An Egyptian investigation team said they were “90% sure” that the loud noise heard on the black box was a bomb.
Tourists stuck in the resort town
Last week, the US and British agencies said there was a “high probability” that ISIS or one of its affiliates planted a bomb on the aircraft. It might also be an individual inspired by ISIS who acted in the name of the militant group without being directed by ISIS. Thousands of tourists were stuck in the resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh after the crash as Russia, the UK and many other countries suspended flights to and from the tourist destination.
On October 31, Metrojet Flight 9268, an Airbus A321-200 departed from Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt for St. Petersburg, Russia with seven crew members and 217 passengers. Just 23 minutes after taking off, the plane disappeared from radar. The crash has fueled demands for stringent aviation security worldwide.