Egypt’s Sisi for first time cites terror motives behind downing of airliner

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Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Sisi confirmed for the first time on Feb. 24 that “terrorism” was the cause of the Oct. 31 crash of a Russian airliner in the Sinai Peninsula that killed 224 people.

Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Sisi. /AP/MENA
Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Sisi. /AP/MENA

“Has terrorism ended? No… Whoever downed that plane, what did he want? Just to hit tourism? No. To hit relations. To hit relations with Russia,” Sisi said in a speech, according to AFP.

Previously, Sisi had said a claim by Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) that it was responsible for downing the plane was “propaganda.”

The terrorist attack dealt a major blow to Egypt’s vital tourism industry.

On Nov. 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow’s investigators had found evidence of a bomb on board the Russian airliner, and vowed to punish the attackers.

“We will search for them anywhere they might hide. We will find them in any part of the world and punish them,” he said at the time, according to AFP.

Egypt has since hired a British firm to review security at airports, including procedures to check passengers and baggage, and security equipment.

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