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Russia grounds all tourist flights to Egypt

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By Keith Walker
Russia grounds all tourist flights to Egypt

Moscow has grounded all tourist flights to Egypt after after a Metrojet plane bound for Saint Patersburg crashed shortly after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh last weekend, killing all 224 people on board.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the suspension until the cause of the crash was established.

The head of Russia’s Federal Security Bureau Alexander Bortnikov said it would take as much time as is needed to find exactly what caused the crash.

“Specialists from the emergencies ministry, explosives experts, have access to all the fragments of the aircraft,” he said. “The Egyptian authorities have cooperated and continue to cooperate fully. The investigation continues today. The results will be announced.”

The Russian Travel Industry Union estimated there are around 50,000 Russian tourists in Egypt, according to the Interfax news agency.

It said refunding cancelled trips to Egypt could bankrupt tour operators in Russia.

Meanwhile unnamed Western officials said so-called intelligence chatter supported a theory that the plane was brought down by a bomb.