The Russian intelligence service says that a Metrojet airliner that went down over Egypt’s Sinai peninsula in October was brought down by a bomb.
The Russian Security Service (FSB) said on Tuesday that traces of explosives were found among the debris, after weeks of speculation about what had caused the crash. The state-owned Sputnik News website quoted the FSB’s chief Alexander Bortnik “We can definitely say this was a terrorist attack,” Bortnikov is reported to have said, adding that 1kg of a TNT equivalent had been used to blow up the Airbus A321 travelling for Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg in Russia.
Bortnikov was meeting Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who said that those behind the attack would be held responsible. “We will search for them anywhere they might hide. We will find them in any part of the world and punish them,” Putin said. An anonymous Egyptian aviation official has disputed the findings telling the DPA news agency that there was still not enough proof “confirming the hypothesis that the plane exploded as a result of terrorist action”.
Al Jazeera’s Rory Challands, reporting from Moscow, said the comments by Russian officials raised new questions. “People are asking how long the Russians have known this … clearly Russia’s actions over the last few weeks have given the impression that they strongly suspected this plane was brought out of the sky by an explosive,” our correspondent said, referring to Moscow’s decision to stop flights into and out of Egypt.