Russian airliner with 224 on board crashes in Sinai

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Updated 31 October 2015
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Russian airliner with 224 on board crashes in Sinai

ISMAILIA/CAIRO: A Russian airliner carrying 224 passengers and crew crashed in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula on Saturday, the Egyptian civil aviation authority said, and a security officer who arrived on the scene said all aboard the plane were probably dead.
RIA News Agency, quoting a Russian Aviation Authority source, said the plane was carrying 7 crew, 200 adult passengers and 17 children.
The Airbus A-321, operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia with registration number KGL-9268, was flying from the Sinai Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg in Russia when it went down in a desolate mountainous area of central Sinai soon after daybreak, the aviation ministry said.
It took off at 5:51 a.m. Cairo time (0351 GMT) and disappeared from radar screens 23 minutes later, Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement.
The plane was completely destroyed and all those on board are likely to have died, the Egyptian security officer who arrived at the scene told Reuters by telephone.
Egyptian security sources said there was no indication that the Airbus jet had been shot down or blown up.
Sinai-based militants who support Islamic State have killed hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police and have also attacked Western targets in recent months.
After delays caused by poor weather conditions, Egyptian search and rescue teams located the site of the crash in the Hassana area 35 km (22 miles) south of the Sinai Mediterranean coastal city of Al Arish, the aviation ministry statement said.
The plane was at an altitude of 31,000 feet (9,400 meters) when it vanished from radar screens, it said. Rescue service sources said so far five ambulances had managed to reach the venue of the crash.
An article uploaded on Wikipedia about the air crash said the Airbus A321 was owned and leased from AerCap and was 18 years old at the time of the incident.
“The aircraft was initally delivered to Lebanese airline Middle East Airlines on 25 May 1997. It was transferred to Kolavia in March 2012 and then to Metrojet in May 2012. The aircaft was powered by two IAE V2533 engines and configured to carry 220 passengers in an economy configuration,” the article said.


Iraqi forces launch anti-Daesh operation north of Baghdad

Updated 26 min 54 sec ago
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Iraqi forces launch anti-Daesh operation north of Baghdad

  • The mainly Shiite PMF have been an effective force against Daesh
  • This is the second phase of the operation dubbed “Will to Victory”

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s military said Saturday its troops in partnership with security agencies and paramilitary forces launched the second phase of an operation aimed at clearing remnants of the Daesh group from north of Baghdad and surrounding areas.
This is the second phase of the operation dubbed “Will to Victory,” which started two weeks earlier and targeted the area along the border with Syria. The military said the new target area is north of Baghdad and in the Diyala, Salahuddin and Anbar provinces.
Although Iraq declared victory against Daesh in July 2017, the extremists have turned into an insurgency and continue to carry out deadly attacks in the country.
The military said Iraqi troops, Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, the federal police and others are taking part in the operation supported by the Iraqis and the U.S-led international coalition.
On Saturday, Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi visited the operation room alongside the deputy head of the PMF, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.
Earlier this month, the Iraqi government moved to place the Iranian-backed militias under the command of the armed forces. The move was believed to be an attempt to curb the powerful militias, particularly amid rising tension between Iran and the US, the power brokers in Iraq.
The mainly Shiite PMF have been an effective force against Daesh and are a significant political force, with government ministers and 48 seats in the 329-member parliament.