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Monday, 11 November 2019

New suspect for 2015 Russian metrojet crash above Egypt’s Sinai peninsula

New suspect in Russian airliner crash: A Lebanese Danish man named Basil Hassan, born Mohammed Basil El-Cheikh, has been implicated in the downing of the Russian airliner over Sinai in 2015, Danish public service broadcaster DR reported on Friday. DR obtained court documents from the “meat grinder bomb plot,” in which two Lebanese brothers were found guilty of attempting to blow up an Etihad plane flying between Sydney and Abu Dhabi. Khaled Khayat, one of the brothers, said during his confession that “there was also another plane that blew up in Egypt, and the same man was behind it [Hassan].” Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack, but so far no-one has been prosecuted.

Background: 224 people died after a Russian Metrojet was downed shortly after takeoff from Sharm El Sheikh in October 2015. Russian authorities have since grounded chartered flights to and from Egyptian Red Sea destinations, a ban that has cost us bns in tourist inflows. The ban has remained in place despite repeated inspections of Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh’s airports indicating that security procedures are up to par. Russian officials have continually declined to give a timeline for the reversal. Last week, it was reported that a Russian delegation was in town to look into lifting the ban. Hopes were particularly high this time, given the British government lifted its own four-year ban just a few weeks prior. However, there is still yet to be anything concrete from the Russian government.

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