El-Sisi Says Russian Jet Downed in Attack on Egypt-Russia Ties

  • Egyptian president says terrorism remains a problem in Sinai
  • Russian, U.K. and U.S. officials have said bomb caused crash

The downing of a Russian passenger jet over the Sinai desert last year was aimed at damaging Egypt’s relations with Russia, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said, marking the first acknowledgment by a top Egyptian official that foul play was involved.

Terrorism remains a problem in Sinai and whoever brought down the aircraft did so to both harm Egypt’s vital tourism sector and damage ties with Moscow, El-Sisi said in comments carried by the state-run Middle East News Agency on Wednesday.

Russian, British and U.S. officials have said a bomb was responsible for the Metrojet disaster, while Egypt has held off announcing a specific cause pending the completion of an investigation into the crash that killed all 224 people on board. Islamic State’s affiliate in Sinai claimed responsibility.

Egypt’s tourism industry has slumped since the incident, compounding a foreign currency shortage that has hampered some businesses at a time when the government is struggling to attract foreign investors.

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