Egypt won’t rule out ‘possibility of terrorist attack’

Egypt’s aviation minister said ‘terrorism’ more likely than technical failure in missing plane

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Egypt’s minister of civil aviation said Cairo will not rule out the possibility of a terrorist attack behind the EgyptAir flight that vanished over the Mediterranean en route from Paris to Cairo, carrying 66 passengers and crew.

“I don’t want to go into speculations or assumptions,” Sherif Fathy told reporters during a press conference, insisting it was too early to rule out either terrorism or a technical failure as the reason behind the plane’s disappearance.

However, Fathy said “the possibility of having a different action onboard, of having a terror attack, it is higher than the possibility of having a technical” failure. The minister added that he still had no information on the plane’s fate.

Debris was found near the search area for the missing plane by the Greek frigate soon shortly after France and Greece said flight MS804 – an Airbus A320 carrying 56 passengers and 10 crew – had crashed.

The flight disappeared 2:45 a.m. Egypt time, the airline said.

Before the plastic parts were found floating in the Mediterranean sea, the aviation minister said “we are not denying that the plane has crashed,” but urged that “we should not be one of those who hold on small theories and make early assumptions.”

He said there were was similar case where the flight was called “missing” for an entirely one year. On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared with no solid clues that explain the incident.

He lamented: “Hours have passed since the incident, in some other [international cases] it took years to figure out what happened. I don’t understand why when it comes to us, we are expected to resolve the issue as soon as possible.”

Fathy said the search is taking place south of Greece’s Crete island, situated around 100 km away from Crete, is because it was “the last time coordinates were taken,” citing no debris in sight.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s general prosecutor on Thursday ordered a state security investigation into the disappearance of the EgyptAir aircraft, judicial sources said.

Similarly, France has opened an investigation into the disappearance of the plane, adding that no theories are dismissed, the prosecutor’s office said.

(With Reuters)