Egypt refuses to concede terrorism

The Egyptian government has refused to concede that it was terrorists that brought down a Russian passenger jet in the Sinai desert last week, despite the US and the UK saying that intelligence points strongly to the crash being caused by a bomb.

Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, denied the international suspicions that the tragedy was an act of terrorism, as intensifying restrictions on air travel threatened to cripple the country’s vital tourism industry.

“We have not dismissed any possibility but there is no hypothesis yet, before the investigations are over and a full report is ready,” Shoukry said on Saturday.

Shoukry said foreign intelligence that had triggered the international travel restrictions had not been shared with Egypt.

“We expected that any technical information should have been shared with us, at a technical level, before publicising it in the media,” he said.

Security officials said, however, that they had launched an investigation into local staff and ground crew in Sharm el-Sheikh who had come into contact with the MetroJet Airbus A321 before it crashed 23 minutes after takeoff, killing all 224 people on board.