Putin vows revenge, intensifies air raids over ISIS stronghold in Raqa
MOSCOW, Nov 17: Russia’s security chief confirmed on Tuesday that a “terror act” downed the Russian A321 airliner in Egypt last month, killing all 224 people on board.
“Traces of foreign explosives” were found on the debris from the Airbus and passenger belongings, Federal Security Service (FSB) chief Alexander Bortnikov told Russian President Vladimir Putin, media reports said.
Putin vowed to find and punish those responsible for the October 31 attack over the Sii peninsula, the reports said.
An Islamic State affiliate had claimed responsibility for the act of terror. Nearly all the dead were Russians.
According to Bortnikov, the attack was caused by a self-made explosive device that had a power of up to one kg in TNT equivalent, TASS reported. Details of the Bortnikov-Putin meeting were posted on the Kremlin’s website.
“It can be umbiguously said that this is a terrorist act,” the security chief was quoted as saying. “In the estimates of our specialists, a self-made explosive device with its power of up to one kg in TNT equivalent went off aboard the airliner, due to which the plane broke up in the air and this explains the spread of the plane’s fuselage parts over a large distance,” he said.
The Russian Kogalymavia’s A321 plane, flying from Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg, crashed around 30 minutes after take-off, 100 km to the south of Al-Arish. The victims included all 217 passengers and seven crew members.
Meanwhile, Russia on Tuesday staged a “significant number” of air strikes on the Islamic State group stronghold of Raqa in Syria, a US defence sources said. The attacks may have included sea-launched cruise missiles and long-range bombers.
The air raids came after President Putin vowed vengeance and ramp up the Russian bombing campaign in Syria. (IANS)