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Tag Archive: Egypt


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Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman speaks during a news conference in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia Creates Anti-Terrorist Coalition to Save Face in Mideast

© REUTERS/ Saudi Press Agency

Politics

14:09 21.12.2015

Recently, Saudi Arabia announced it was creating a coalition of Muslim countries to fight terrorism. Such a plan was initiated by Riyadh’s intention to restore its position in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia’s call to arms has gained supporters. As of now, 34 nations have expressed their interest in joining the anti-terrorist Muslim coalition Riyadh is forming.Among them are countries with a majority of Shiite or Sunni population, including Jordan, the UAE, Palestine, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Qatar, Yemen, Turkey, a number of African Muslim nations as well as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malaysia. Another 10 nations said they would be ready to join the coalition in the future.

Saudi Arabia’s Defense Ministry Mohammad bin Salman did not elaborate on what measures would be taken against terrorists. He only said that a headquarters will be established in Riyadh to “coordinate military operations.”

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“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” Rahm Emanuel

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U.S. to tighten airline security after crash of Russian plane

November 6  

As investigators search for the cause of a plane crash that killed 224 people over the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday and Russia suspends all flights to Egypt, U.S. officials said they are taking unspecified precautionary measures to enhance the security of flights from the Middle East.

“While the facts and circumstances surrounding the tragic October 31 crash of Metrojet Flight 9268 on the Sinai Peninsula are still under investigation, Transportation Security Administrator (TSA) Peter Neffenger and I, out of an abundance of caution, have identified a series of interim, precautionary enhancements to aviation security with respect to commercial flights bound for the United States from certain foreign airports in the region,” Jeh C. Johnson, secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, said in a statement.

Johnson said the enhancements, also adopted by European aviation authorities, “are designed to provide an additional layer of security for the traveling public, and will be undertaken in consultation with relevant foreign governments and relevant passenger and cargo airlines.”

[Russia halts Eygpt flights amid widening probe into plane crash]

They include expanded screening and other “seen and unseen” security measures.

 

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 Sputnik

 

Airbus A321 crash site in Egypt

A321 Crash Investigators Call on Media to Stop Using Anonymous Sources

© Sputnik/ Maxim Grigoryev

World

19:21 08.11.2015(updated 19:33 08.11.2015) Get short URL

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — While covering the developments related to the Russian A321 plane crash in Egypt, media should rely exclusively on official statements, while any “uncertain” sources should be avoided, the head of the Egypt-led investigation committee said on Sunday.

On Saturday, the Egypt-led investigation committee issued a statement, according to which the reason for the Russian Kogalymavia plane crash in Sinai is yet to be determined. The following day, Reuters reported, citing a unidentified member of the inquiry, that investigators into the plane crash in Egypt were “90 percent sure” the noise heard on the final seconds of a cockpit recording was an explosion caused by a bomb.

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Servicemen gather passengers' belongings on the crash site of the Airbus A321 that was carrying out Kogalymavia Flight 9268 from Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg, 100 km south of El Arish in the northern Sinai Peninsula. © Maxim Grigoryev
The search and recovery operation continues in Egypt’s Sinai after a Russian passenger plane crashed there, killing all 224 people on board Saturday. Russian and Egyptian investigators are looking into the causes of the tragedy.
  • 08 November 2015

    13:13 GMT

  • 13:12 GMT

    Investigators of the jet crash are “90 percent sure” that the noise heard in the final moments of the cockpit recording was a bomb exploding, a member of the investigation team told Reuters.

  • 09:32 GMT

    Emirates Airlines expects the plane tragedy will result in demands for stringent aviation security across the globe, the airline’s president, Tim Clark said, as cited by Reuters.

  • 09:27 GMT

    The luggage of Russian tourists who arrive from Egypt is undergoing stricter than usual checks, said Igor Pedan, an official from UTG aviation services, which maintains Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport.

    “The procedure was non-standard, I can say,” he said. “All luggage was sent to a special zone, [it] was checked by cynologists [dog-handlers] with [sniffer] dogs, the luggage was checked by special equipment and only then was transferred to a clear zone, for passengers to pick it up, ” he added.

     

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Unclear ‘noise’ recorded before A321 crash, its nature to be determined – Egypt’s investigators

The Russian A321’s black box recorded an unclear noise before crashing in Sinai, the head of Egypt’s investigation committee has confirmed. However, spectral analysis is required to determine its nature.

The head of the Investigations Committee, Captain Ayman Mokadem, said the nature of debris scatter suggests an in-flight break up, but it is still too early to draw conclusions on the causes of the crash. While both flight data recorders have been found, the investigators are still studying them.

Mokadem confirmed that some “noise” can be heard on the recording right before the crash. He still said its nature is unclear and a spectral analysis will be carried out to identify it.

An international team of investigators are at the scene still “collecting information,” he said.

Ayman el Mokadem says there are 47 investigators into Metrojet crash – 29 from egypt, 7 russia, France 6, Germany 2 – Ireland 3

According to the flight data recorders, the incident occurred 23 minutes and 14 seconds after takeoff at an altitude of 30,888 feet in climbing mode, at a speed of 281 knots-autopilot engaged, he said.

The investigators have listened to the audio from the cockpit voice recorder and are currently in the phase of writing the transcript, he added.

Access to the crash site has been impeded by bad weather since Tuesday, he said. An investigation team consisting of 58 experts plan to return to the site as soon as weather conditions improve in the next few days.

 

 

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the guardian

 

Vladimir Putin orders halt to all flights to Egyptian airports as evidence mounts that flight 9268 was brought down rather than suffering mechanical failure

Russian tourists
Russian tourists queue at the airport in Sharm El-Sheikh. Photograph: Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP/Getty

The sound of an apparent explosion can be heard on the flight recorder of the Russian-operated plane that came down over the Sinai peninsula, killing all 224 people on board, adding to mounting evidence that a bomb was smuggled aboard, French media sources said on Friday. Giving further credence to the idea that the plane crash was a terrorist act rather than because of structural failure, Russia, which for a week has been resistant to speculation about a bomb, suspended flights to all Egyptian airports.

An Egyptian-led international team of aviation experts, including some from France, successfully recovered the black box, the flight recorder, from the crash site. Several French media outlets, including the television station France 2, reported that the investigators had listened to it and concluded that a bomb had detonated, which would seem to rule out structural failure or pilot error. The pilots can be heard chatting normally, including contact with airport controllers, up until the apparent explosion.

The reports about the black box contents came as British attempts to bring passengers home from Sharm el-Sheikh descended into chaos on Friday.

While Russia had earlier suggested that the UK was acting prematurely in halting flights to the Red Sea resort over terrorism fears, Vladimir Putin ordered even wider restrictions on Friday, including halting all flights from Cairo. The head of his federal security services said it would be “expedient” to suspend flights until they had discovered why the Airbus 321 had crashed last Saturday.

Meanwhile, the US announced new security measures – including tighter screening – for flights from some airports in the Middle East. Jeh Johnson, the homeland security secretary, said that the move was motivated by “an abundance of caution”. Russia initially dismissed claims by Islamic State (Isis) of responsibility for downing the Metrojet flight, which came weeks after threats of retaliation for Russian planes bombing Syria, and Moscow reacted angrily after David Cameron said it was “more likely than not” a bomb.

 

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the guardian

Mounting suspicions over Sinai plane crash force Russian response

Russia warned UK against jumping to premature conclusions but has now suspended flights as clues increasingly point to bomb attack

Pulkovo airport in St Petersburg
A makeshift memorial outside Pulkovo airport in St Petersburg, the plane’s intended destination. Photograph: Reuters

 

Clues about the fate of Airbus A321 have mounted quickly over the last few days, pointing to the conclusion that the Russian plane was brought down by a bomb.

The balance tipped towards terrorist action when Russia, which had urged the UK against jumping to premature judgments, finally bowed and suspended all Russian flights to and from Egypt.

The move was in response to a series of developments since Tuesday, when it was revealed that US satellite imagery had picked up a heat flash before the plane went down.

British government sources reported “chatter” picked up by surveillance agencies, hinting that a bomb may have been involved. There was alarm over the extent of lax security at Sharm el-Sheikh airport and on Friday, French media reported that sources close to the investigation were saying evidence on the black boxes pointed towards an attack.

The “chatter” was picked up by one of the most important of the overseas listening stations run by Britain’s surveillance agency GCHQ at Mount Troodos, in Cyprus. From that listening post, the British can pick up communications as far away as Beijing but the interest this time was nearer at hand, information heard linking the crash to Islamic State and a bomb.

 

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the guardian

The UK government’s attempt to evacuate thousands of stranded British holidaymakers from the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh descended into angry scenes as tourists berated the UK ambassador to Cairo over further delays, with only eight out of 29 planned flights cleared to fly.

The first two repatriation flights from Sharm to the UK touched down on Friday afternoon after a day of conflicting information from airlines, embassy staff and Egyptian officials over the timetable for flights, during which the ambassador, John Casson, was heckled by furious tourists.

Sharm el-Sheikh airport is at the centre of security fearsafter a Russian airliner crashed last weekend in Sinai, killing all 224 people on board. British officials fear the plane was brought down by a bomb.

The angry exchanges came as more countries, including Russia, moved to introduce new flight restrictions.

In a crowded terminal of the resort’s airport hundreds of Britons were hoping to return home after they were ferried to the airport in buses, only for easyJet to tell them that Egypt was blocking the arrival of extra flights.

 

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ZeroHedge

Wednesday brought a veritable smorgasbord of “new” information about the Russian passenger jet which fell out of the sky above the Sinai Peninsula last weekend.

First there was an audio recording from ISIS’ Egyptian affiliate reiterating that they did indeed “down” the plane. Next, the ISIS home office in Raqqa (or Langley or Hollywood) released a video of five guys sitting in the front yard congratulating their Egyptian “brothers” on the accomplishment.

Then the UK grounded air traffic from Sharm el-Sheikh noting that the plane “may well” have had an “explosive device” on board.

Finally, US media lit up with reports that according to American “intelligence” sources, ISIS was probably responsible for the crash.

Over the course of the investigation, one question that’s continually come up is whether militants could have shot the plane down. Generally speaking, the contention that ISIS (or at least IS Sinai) has the technology and/or the expertise to shoot down a passenger jet flying at 31,000 feet has been discredited by “experts” and infrared satellite imagery.

But that’s nothing the CIA can’t fix.

With the Pentagon now set to deploy US ground troops to Syria (and indeed they may already be there, operating near Latakia no less), Washington is reportedly bolstering the supply lines to “moderate” anti-regime forces at the urging of (guess who) the Saudis and Erdogan.

Incredibly, some of the weapons being passed out may be shoulder-fire man-portable air-defense systems, or Manpads, capable of hitting civilian aircraft. 

 

 

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Terrifying final moments of doomed Russian jet: Flight data reveals plane lurched up and down then passengers were sucked out in their seats – as US satellite detects heat flash suggesting a bomb

  • Doomed Russian holiday jet lurched up and down before plunging 31,000ft after being blown apart, bosses claim
  • Travellers still strapped in seats sucked from stricken Airbus A321 through hole at back of jet when the tail blew off
  • Plane crashed into Sinai peninsula killing all 224 passengers and crew just 23 minutes after leaving Sharm El Sheikh
  • PM said security officials are ‘looking very carefully’ at whether there is a safety risk to Britons travelling to Egypt

A doomed Russian passenger jet lurched up and down before plunging 31,000 feet after being blown apart by an ‘external impact’, airline bosses have revealed.

Travellers still strapped in their seats were sucked from the stricken Airbus A321 through a hole at the back of the jet when the tail blew off 23 minutes after leaving the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, it was claimed.

The plane twice abruptly climbed nearly 3,000 feet in three seconds before falling 3,000 feet moments later in the final minutes before disappearing from radar, crashing in the Sinai peninsula with the loss of all 224 passengers and crew.

The news comes as US officials claim an American infra-red satellite detected a heat flash on the route the aircraft was taking seconds before the plane fell from the sky, suggesting there was some sort of explosion on board.

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Egyptian military approach a plane's tail at the wreckage of a passenger jet bound for St Petersburg in Russia that crashed in Hassana

Egyptian military approach a plane’s tail at the wreckage of a passenger jet bound for St Petersburg in Russia that crashed in Hassana

WILL YOUR FLIGHT BE CROSSING A TERRORIST DANGER ZONE? GRAPHIC REVEALS NO FLYING ZONES IN PLACE

Passenger jets leaving Britain routinely fly over areas of the world where conflict on the ground could put them at risk.

The risk was brought into tragic focus in July last year when a Malaysia Airlines passenger flight was shot down in eastern Ukraine by a missile launcher allegedly operated by pro-Russian separatists. All 298 people aboard Flight MH17 were killed.

Since then, with the exception of direct flights into Kiev, most airlines have avoided Ukrainian airspace.

However, MH17 is thought to have been destroyed by a sophisticated long-range missile – not the shoulder-launched devices obtained by IS gunmen and other rebel groups. These normally have maximum vertical range of 15,000 to 20,000ft, much less than the cruising height of commercial airliners.

Aviation authorities issue ‘Notices to Airman’ that place restrictions on commercial flights operated by carriers crossing hazardous airspace. For the world’s most dangerous areas – including Syria and Libya – all flights are banned.

But in others restrictions only apply to flights below a certain altitude, usually around 26,000ft, depending on the perceived range of anti-aircraft weapons available to gunmen in those countries. Warnings issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration cover global hotspots including Libya, Iraq, Yemen and parts of the Sinai Peninsular in Egypt. They are regarded as an international standard.

The Department for Transport’s list of flying restrictions for nine countries issued to British carriers is almost the same but also includes Pakistan.

Planes flying over such areas are warned not to go beneath 26,000ft because of the risk from terrorist or rebel fighters. In many cases – such as the Ukrainian capital Kiev – the no-fly rule does not include direct flights in and out.

Many terror groups around the world have access to the shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, known as MANPADS – or Man-portable air-defence systems. They were developed by the US and Russia in the Cold War.

They are a threat to low-flying aircraft, especially helicopters, and it is possible they could be used to attack an aircraft taking off or landing.

In February 2003, then Prime Minister Tony Blair sent armoured vehicles to Heathrow in response to intelligence warning of an ‘extremely probable’ terrorist attack. While it did not happen, it is likely that such an attack could have involved the use of MANPADS.

The data does not show the heat flash travelling at any time, as would be the case had a ground-to-air missile been launched in the plane’s direction.

Instead, the satellite evidence illustrates that there was just a single burst of ferocious heat on the jet’s path.

That has now opened up the possibility that a bomb on board, or an explosion in a fuel tank or engine as the result of a mechanical failure, caused the plane to come down.

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All passengers dead’ as Russian airliner crashes in Egypt’s Sinai

Published: 22:45 October 31, 2015

Agencies
November 1, 2015 | Last updated 4 minutes ago

 

 

All passengers on the Russian flight from Egypt died when the plane crashed in the Sinai peninsula Saturday, the Russian embassy said in a statement

  • Egypt PM Sherif Ismail (R) at the site of the wreckage of a crashed Russian airliner in HassanaImage Credit: AFP
  • Emergency workers unload bodies of victims from the crash of a Russian aircraft from a police helicopter.Image Credit: AP
  • Relatives react at Pulkovo international airport outside Saint Petersburg after a Russian plane with 224 peoplImage Credit: AFP
  • Relatives react after a Russian airliner crashed
    Relatives react after a Russian airliner crashed, as people gather at an information desk in Russia.Image Credit: AP

Paris: Air France and Lufthansa said Saturday they will stop flying over Egypt’s Sinai peninsula after a Russian passenger plane went down in the area with the loss of all 224 people on board.

The airlines said they were taking the measure as a precaution while the cause of the Russian crash was investigated.

The Daesh affiliate in Egypt has said it downed the plane, without saying how, but Russia’s transport minister said the claim “cannot be considered accurate” and an Egyptian security official said the plane did not crash because of an attack.

An Air France spokesperson told AFP they would not fly over Sinai until further notice, “as a precaution” while “clarification” was sought over why the Russian charter plane crashed.

Lufthansa told the German newspaper Die Welt it was taking the same measure for the same reason.

Military experts have told AFP that Daesh terrorists in Sinai do not have weapons capable of hitting an aircraft at 30,000 feet (9,000 metres), the altitude of the airliner when it lost contact.

But they have not ruled out a bomb on board or the possibility that the plane was hit by a rocket as it descended because of technical problems.

A senior Egyptian air traffic control official said the pilot of the Airbus A321 told him in their last communication that he had radio trouble.

 

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Sat Oct 31, 2015 6:43PM
Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail looks at the remains of a Russian airliner after it crashed in central Sinai near El Arish city, north Egypt, October 31, 2015. (Reuters Photo)

Egypt’s Prime Minister Sherif Ismail looks at the remains of a Russian airliner after it crashed in central Sinai near El Arish city, north Egypt, October 31, 2015. (Reuters Photo)

 

Moscow and Cairo have denied claims by the Daesh Takfiri group’s Egyptian affiliate to have downed a Russian aircraft that crashed in North Sinai with more than 200 passengers on board.

“Now in various media there is assorted information that the Russian passenger (plane)… was supposedly shot down by an anti-aircraft missile, fired by terrorists. This information can’t be considered accurate,” Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov said on Saturday.

“We are in close contact with our Egyptian colleagues and aviation authorities in the country. At present, they have no information that would confirm such insinuations,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Samir, Egypt’s army spokesman, also refuted the claim by the Takfiri group, saying that “the army sees no authenticity” to the terrorists claims or videos.

“They can put out whatever statements they want but there is no proof at this point that terrorists were responsible for this plane crash” he said.

“We will know the true reasons when the civil aviation authority in coordination with Russian authorities completes its investigation,” he added.

An Egyptian soldier and rescue crew transfer the body of a victim of a plane crash, from a civil police helicopter to an ambulance at Kabrit airport in Suez, east of Cairo, Egypt, October 31, 2015. (Photo by Reuters)

 

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Terrorists, non-state actors had no capacity to down Russian plane, security & aviation experts say

Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail looks at the remains of a Russian airliner after it crashed in central Sinai near El Arish city, north Egypt, October 31, 2015. © Reuters
While the investigation into the causes of the Russian passenger jet crash over the Sinai Peninsula continues, civil aviation and security experts agree that theories that the plane was downed by a militant group can be ruled out, despite terrorists making such claims.

All 224 people on board the Kolavia airline’s flight from resort area Sharm El-Sheikh to Russia’s St. Petersburg died after the aircraft crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Saturday. Experts are still decoding the flight recorders, and the Russian Air Transport Agency has said that there is no point in hypothesizing about the cause of the crash until there is reliable data on the circumstances.

LIVE UPDATES: Russian passenger jet crashes over Sinai

While Islamic State jihadist group allegedly claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it downed the Airbus A321 as retaliation for Russia’s airstrikes against terrorist targets in Syria, aviation and security experts believe it to be highly unlikely.

“As far as it’s known, Islamic State and its affiliate groups don’t have the capability to bring down aircraft flying at the height that this aircraft reportedly was, which is something around 10,000 meters,” security analyst and former UK counter-terrorism officer Charles Shoebridge told RT.

 

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Eni’s Damietta liquefied natural gas plant in Egypt. Credit Eni

The Italian energy company Eni knew it was taking a big risk this summer when it spent $60 million on an exploratory rig and began drilling more than 100 miles off the coast of Egypt.

Eni’s gamble worked. The company, using drilling rights from the Egyptian government, found what it called a “supergiant” natural gas field. It may be the largest discovery yet in the Mediterranean and is one of the world’s biggest new gas finds in years.

Eni will need to drill more wells to prove its claim that the field, which it calls Zohr, holds up to 30 trillion cubic feet of gas. That could be worth about $100 billion, even when taking into account current low energy prices. But the promise of Zohr — the Arabic word for noon — is already brightening the prospects of the Egyptian economy, which has been benighted by an energy shortage and years of political turmoil.

As with so many things in the Middle East, however, the discovery of the gas field has geopolitical repercussions. And it has thrust Eni’s chief executive, Claudio Descalzi, into the role of shuttle diplomat.

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Yahoo News

AFP

 

Egyptians smoke water-pipes under a banner bearing portraits of candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections in the Giza district of the capital, Cairo, on October 14, 2015
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Cairo (AFP) – One party — the banned Muslim Brotherhood — will be conspicuously absent from ballot papers Sunday when Egypt’s voters head to the polls for long-delayed parliamentary elections.

What had been Egypt’s main opposition group for decades fell foul of the authorities after army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and was elected to succeed him last year.

Since overthrowing the senior Brotherhood figure, Sisi has overseen a deadly crackdown on the group in which hundreds were killed and thousands jailed, including most of the group’s leaders.

The Brotherhood’s disappearance from the public political scene is a far cry from a group, then officially banned but tolerated, which fielded candidates in parliamentary elections under former president Hosni Mubarak.

Then, campaigning under its own name, the Brotherhood took a whopping 44 percent of seats in the first free democratic elections following Mubarak’s ouster in 2011.

That parliament was dissolved in June 2012, but the Brotherhood’s popularity shone through days later when Morsi, a civilian, was elected, putting an end to six decades of presidents coming from military ranks.

But while it has been wrested from Egypt’s political arena, analysts say this is unlikely to be the last voters see of the Brotherhood.

“The Brotherhood will stay outside the political game as long as President Sisi is in power,” said Hazem Hosny, professor of political science at Cairo University.

“The Brotherhood and the regime have gone too far in their confrontation.”

Meanwhile, Sisi supporters are widely expected to sweep the parliamentary elections.

– History of repression –

 

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