The Russian commercial airliner that crashed in Egypt last month was destroyed by a terrorist bomb, Russia’s top security official confirmed on Tuesday.
Alexander Bortnikov, the director of Russia’s Federal Security Service, in a televised meeting with President Vladimir Putin said improvised explosives, equivalent to 1.5kg of TNT, detonated on board the Airbus A321 shortly after it took off from Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all 224 people on board.
“I can say that it was a terrorist attack,” Mr Bortnikov said.
“As a result the aircraft broke up in the air, which explains the wide distribution of parts of the fuselage,” he said at a Security Council meeting broadcast on Russian national television.
The Russian President said those responsible would be found and punished.
“We will look for them everywhere, wherever they are hiding.
“We will find them in any corner of the planet and punish them,” the Russian president vowed.
“Anyone who tries to assist these criminals must know that the consequences of attempted concealment will lie entirely on their shoulders,” he added.
Metrojet flight 7K9268 to St Petersburg exploded over Egypt’s Sinai peninsula just 20 minutesafter taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh on October 21, killing all 224 people on board.
The crash was Russia’s worst ever air disaster and its worst terrorist attack since the 2004 Beslan School siege.
A group affiliated with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Mr Putin also ordered the Russian foreign ministry to appeal to other governments for assistance in tracking down the perpetrators.
He said the Russian airforce to intensify air strikes in Syria: “Our military work in Syria must be not only continue, it must be intensified in such a way that the criminals understand that retribution is inevitable,” he said.
Meanwhile, Russia announced a $50 million (£33 million) for information leading to the arrest of the terrorists who blew up the flight.
The offer from the Federal Security Service, the main successor agency to the KGB, was announced via Russian state television channels on Tuesday morning.
In the days after the crash Mr Putin criticised David Cameron for saying the crash may have been the work of terrorists and halting flights between Britain and Sharm el-Shiekh.
Shortly after making this comments, however, Russia cancelled all flights to Egypt and banned Egypt’s national airline from flying to Russian airports citing security concerns.
SOURCE: The Telegraph