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Egypt decides to have voice recording of crashed plane analyzed abroad

The final seven seconds of the cockpit voice recording from Metrojet flight 9268 will be sent abroad for analysis. Russia and Kazakhstan have meanwhile imposed further restrictions on Egyptian airliners.

Egypt's civil aviation minister, Hossam Kamal, said that a last-second noise from the black box recording on the Russian plane that had crashed on October 31 in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula would need to be sent abroad for further examination. He did not identify the country to which the recording would be sent.

Kamal told the Egyptian state-run newspaper "Al-Ahram" in an interview that a copy of the recording needed to be analyzed using foreign technology available only in countries in which Airbus planes were manufactured. The Airbus A321 in question was assembled in Germany, using parts from the United States.

"This sound will be analyzed with specific equipment that is not available in most countries," Kamal told al-Ahram.

Kamal also stressed that the original tape would not be transported out of Egypt, which has been leading the investigation alongside representatives from other nations, including Russia, France, Germany and Ireland. The governments of several countries, including Britain and Israel, have said that they believed the plane was likely downed by a bomb on board after it took off.

Further flight bans

The incident prompted Russia and some other countries to impose restrictions on flights to and from Egypt, which have dealt a severe blow to Egypt's tourism industry. In addition to the previous restrictions, the Russian aviation agency Rosaviatsia also banned all flights by Egypt Air going to Russia. The ban against Egypt's state-owned flag carrier will be effective as of November 14.

Kazakhstan followed suit and announced a suspension to all tourist flights to Egypt. The former Soviet Republic's Civil Aviation Committee stopped all flights to Egypt with immediate effect, with the sole exception being one flight intended to evacuate Kazakh tourists stuck in Egypt. The ban is to remain effective at least until the ultimate cause of the Metrojet crash is determined.

Britain also announced that it would stop repatriating holidaymakers from Egypt early next week, adding that anyone who stayed behind would have to fly back "at their own risk." An estimated 20,000 British tourists were holidaying in Egypt when the Russian jet crashed. The announcement came as news emerged that British and American intelligence agencies had warned airlines seven weeks before the crash that an attack over Egyptian airspace could be imminent.

An affiliate of the self-styled "Islamic State" group claimed that it had destroyed the plane, without providing details. The flight was heading from the popular Sinai resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh to the Russian city of St. Petersburg when it crashed. All 224 people on the plane, most of whom were Russian nationals, were killed.

ss/kms (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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