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Russian plane wreckage to be moved to safe place in Cairo

THE wreckage of the Russian plane crashed in Egypt's Sinai will be moved soon to the capital Cairo, while there is still no evidence of the reason of the crash, the head of the Egypt-led investigation committee told reporters in a news conference on Saturday.

"The wreckage will be recovered to a safe and secure place in Cairo for further examination of each part," committee chief Ayman al-Mokadem said, adding that the 47-member investigation team, besides several other consultants, are still in the process of information gathering.

The investigation panel said in the statement that the VCR in the black box was successfully downloaded, and during the first listening "a noise was heard in the last second," which requires spectral analysis that will be carried out by specialized labs.

The Russian plane crashed late October in Egypt's North Sinai a while after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh airport, which killed all 224 people on board.

Recent Western media reports citing intelligence sources suggested the Russian plane crashed due to a planted terrorist bomb.

As a result, Russia, Britain and some other European countries suspended their flights to Egypt over relative concerns, which added recession to Egypt's already-suffering tourism sector.

"The committee was not provided with any information or evidence in this regard," said the panel chief, "the committee urges the sources of such reports to provide it with all information that could help us to undertake our mission."

The committee consists of 49 members, 29 from Egypt, seven from Russia, six from France and two from Germany besides other airline consultants.

"The committee is considering with great attention all possible scenarios for the cause of the accident, and it did not reach till the moment any conclusion in this regard," Mokadem said in the press conference attended by Egypt's Civil Aviation Minister Hossam Kamal.

Earlier on Saturday, Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry criticized the panic and hastiness of some "partners" who "took procedures that had negative effects on the Egyptian economy and the tourism field."

The Egyptian minister lamented that the Egyptian security apparatuses have not yet been provided with the details of the information that some states said they had.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday in a joint press conference with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi that he suspended British flights to Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh based on intelligence information suggesting a bomb might have been behind the Russian plane crash.

"My role is to act in the right way to keep British citizens safe and secure and to put their security first," Cameron said, still expressing uncertainty that a terrorist act was behind the tragedy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin decided on Friday to suspend all Russian flights to Egypt in the light of the same speculations.

On Saturday, about 10 special flights have departed for Egypt to bring home to Moscow about 80,000 Russian tourists currently in the most populous Arab state, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.

A Sinai-based militant group loyal to the Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the Russian plane crash hours after the tragic accident, but the claim was strongly refuted by both the Egyptian and the Russian sides.


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