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Putin agrees to suspend Russia flights to Egypt

The Russian president has followed the suggestion of a top official in halting flights to the country. The move comes after speculation that a terrorist attack brought down a Metrojet flight earlier this week.

Putin made the decision on Friday following a suggestion earlier that day from the head of Russia's security service, Interfax news agency reported.

The announcement follows similar decisions made by the heads of the UK and Ireland, who suspended all flights to the Sinai Peninsula resort where many of the passengers in this week's fatal flight had stayed.

According to Interfax, Putin is also planning for ways to bring back Russian citizens currently stranded in Egypt.

Possible terrorist attack

Authorities in Russia, Egypt and other countries have not confirmed the reason for the crash, though there has been speculation the plane was

brought down by an act of terrorism.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told Sky television on Thursday there was "a significant possibility" that the militant organization known as "Islamic State" (IS) caused the crash.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded to his comments by saying Moscow had not ruled out the possibility, but would refrain from speculating until the investigation was concluded.

Shortly after the Metrojet went down in the Sinai Peninsula on Sunday, militants affiliated with IS claimed responsibility for the attack.

Watch video 02:07

Stranded at Sharm el-Sheikh airport

Confusion on the ground

For many of the tourists currently stranded in the Sinai Peninsula due to flight cancellations, there has been much confusion and a frustrating lack of information.

One stranded Londoner said it felt "very strange" to be at his Sinai resort at the moment.

"It's a normal holiday destination and resort and everything's going on, but everybody knows that they can't just leave," James Whyte told DW.

The UK government began repatriating tourists on Friday, although some of budget airline Easyjet's "rescue" flights were suspended by the Egyptian government.

blc/rc (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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