Egypt rejects ′Islamic State′ involvement in crash as ′propaganda′ | News | DW | 03.11.2015
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Egypt rejects 'Islamic State' involvement in crash as 'propaganda'

President el-Sissi has dismissed theories of IS' role in the crash in Egypt as an attempt to damage the country's image. Investigations by Russia and Egypt have moved forward, hoping to end days of speculation.

Not only a lack of concrete answers, but also the suggestions raised to fill the void have frustrated the governments of Egypt and Russia in the aftermath of the Metrojet airplane crash that killed over 200 on Saturday.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi repudiated any attempt to link the Islamic State to the crash as "propaganda," in remarks made to the BBC on Tuesday.

"This is one way to damage the stability and security of Egypt and the image of Egypt," he said. "Believe me, the situation in Sinai - especially in this limited area - is under our full control."

All 224 people on board, mostly Russian vacationers, were killed when the Airbus A-321 crashed in the Sinai Peninsula en route to St. Petersburg from the Egyptian resort town Sharm el-Sheikh.

Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail examines the crash site

Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail examines the crash site

Egypt has sought to project a sense of control over the Sinai Peninsula, which has seen a number of violent attacks by insurgent groups.

In addition, there is a fear that the crash will further batter Egypt's attractiveness as a tourist destination. Sharm el-Sheikh has been a rare bright spot for tourism in the country, largely insulated from the region's chaos of the past few years.

US intelligence officials recently deemed it unlikely that 'IS' was involved. The militant group claimed responsibility for the attack in its aftermath, calling it a punishment for Russia's increased military engagement in Syria in support of the government, the group's main rival in the civil war.

Conflicting accounts

Russia too has sought to play down any such claim of IS' involvement in the crash.

President Vladimir Putin has called for its own thorough investigation "to create an objective picture of events so that we know what happened and can react accordingly," he said.

According to Reuters, a spokesman for the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, said on Tuesday that it was inappropriate to connect the Russia's military strategy in Syria with the results its investigation into the cause of the crash.

Officers of the Russian investigative committee walk near a morgue of the victims

Officers of the Russian investigative committee walk near a morgue of the victims

Numerous and opposing explanations for the tragedy have been offered since the tragedy. The plane's operator Metrojet has dismissed the possibility of error on the part of its staff or equipment, while Russia so far refuses to rule it out. Speculations about "external causes" - from an IS missile to a bomb detonating within the plane - abound as well.

No assertion yet has been backed by substantive evidence. Egypt has kept a tight lid on the evidence it has gathered from the crash area and many important stages of the investigation have yet to commence.

Egypt is set on Tuesday to begin analyzing the black boxes recovered from the airplane. Sources say the examination could take from weeks to months if the recordings are damaged.

Watch video 01:39

Investigating the crash

jtm/kms (AFP, Reuters)

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