Putin vows revenge as Russia confirms bomb brought down Egypt plane
MOSCOW // Russian president Vladimir Putin vowed vengeance on Tuesday as Moscow confirmed that a bomb brought down a passenger jet over Egypt last month, killing all 224 people on board.
The confirmation came as two security officials and an employee at Sharm El Sheikh airport, from where the plane took off, said Egyptian authorities had detained two other airport employees for questioning in connection with the crash.
“Seventeen people are being held. Two of them are suspected of helping whoever planted the bomb on the plane at Sharm El Sheikh airport,” one of the security officials said. One of the two also said CCTV footage showed a baggage handler carrying a suitcase from an airport building to another man, who was loading luggage on to the doomed aircraft.
An employee at the airport’s media department confirmed that two members of the ground crew had been detained for questioning on Monday.
The interior and civil aviation ministries, however, denied that there had been any arrests.
The head of Russia’s FSB security service said on Tuesday that a homemade explosive brought down the plane on October 31, telling Mr Putin it was now clear the crash was a terrorist act.
“According to our experts, a homemade explosive device equivalent to one kilogram of TNT went off on board, which caused the plane to break up in the air, which explains why the fuselage was scattered over such a large territory,” FSB head Alexander Bortnikov said.
He said tests showed the explosives had been produced outside Russia, but gave no further details.
The FSB also announced a US$50 million (Dh183.6m) reward for information leading to the capture of those responsible.
ISIL has claimed responsibility for downing the jet, but Egypt said on Tuesday it had yet to find evidence that a criminal act had caused the crash.
Mr Putin pledged to ramp up Moscow’s bombing campaign in Syria in response, but stopped short of blaming any one group.
“We will search for them anywhere they might hide. We will find them in any part of the world and punish them,” he said.
A US defence official later said Russia had struck Raqqa, ISIL’s Syrian stronghold, with a significant number of strikes on Tuesday that might have included long-range bombers and sea-launched cruise missiles.
Updated: November 17, 2015 04:00 AM