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Egypt's military discovers MS804 plane wreckage north of Alexandria

An Egypt-led search operation has uncovered "wreckage" and "personal belongings of passengers." Authorities have yet to identify the cause of the aircraft's disappearance.

The Egyptian armed forces on Friday announced that they had discovered remnants of EgyptAir flight MS804.

"Egyptian aircraft and navy vessels have found personal belongings of passengers and parts of the wreckage 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Alexandria," army spokesman Mohammed Samir said in a statement published on Facebook.

The Airbus A320 disappeared on Thursday after entering Egyptian airspace. The carrier said 66 people were on board the flight, including 56 passengers, seven crew members and three security personnel.

Immediately following the announcement, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi expressed his condolences to the victims' relatives.

"The presidency with utmost sadness and regret mourns the victims on board the EgyptAir flight, who were killed after the plane crashed in the Mediterranean on its way back to Cairo from Paris," the presidency's office said in a statement.

Greece's defense minister said other materials were also discovered by the Egypt-led search operation, including a "body part."

"A short while ago we were briefed by the Egyptian authorities … on the discovery of a body part, a seat and baggage just south of where the aircraft signal was lost," said Defense Minister Panos Kammenos during a press briefing.

The armed forces' discovery comes after EgyptAir on Thursday claimed debris discovered in the area where the aircraft disappeared was part of the A320.

"We stand corrected on finding the wreckage because what we identified is not a part of our plane. So the search and rescue is still going on," airline Vice Chairman Ahmed Adel said at the time.

A screenshot from flight tracking site FlightRadar24 showing flight MS804's path before disappearing

A screenshot from flight tracking site FlightRadar24 showing flight MS804's path before disappearing

Cause unknown

Earlier Friday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault warned of premature conclusions about what had caused the aircraft's disappearance.

"We're looking at all possibilities, but none is being favored over the others because we have absolutely no indication on the causes," Ayrault told French media.

However, Egypt's Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy on Thursday suggested that the aircraft's disappearance was more likely to have been caused by a terrorist attack.

"The situation may indicate that the likelihood of a terrorist work is far higher than the likelihood that the plane developed a technical failure," Fathy said.

Watch video 00:33

Search continues for EgyptAir plane | DW

A year of crises

Egypt has struggled with a series of aviation crises over the past year.

In March, an Egyptian man hijacked a domestic EgyptAir flight and redirected the aircraft to Cyprus after threatening to blow up the plane, saying he was strapped with a suicide belt.

A Russian passenger flight departing from the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg was downed in October, killing all 224 people on board. The "Islamic State" militant group's Sinai affiliate claimed responsibility for the aviation tragedy.

The attack prompted Russian authorities to suspend all commercial flights between Egypt and Russia.

Moscow banned all flights to Egypt in November after a Russian passenger plane was downed over Egypt's Sinai region

Moscow banned all flights to Egypt in November after a Russian passenger plane was downed over Egypt's Sinai region

ls/kl (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)

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