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EgyptAir wreckage found in Mediterranean: Egypt army

egypt-air

CAIRO: Egypt’s military said its search teams found wreckage on Friday from the EgyptAir plane that crashed in the Mediterranean with 66 people on board.

“Egyptian aircraft and navy vessels have found personal belongings of passengers and parts of the wreckage 290 kilometres (180 miles) north of Alexandria,” its spokesman said on his Facebook page.

Search teams scoured the Mediterranean on Friday for the remains of the EgyptAir plane which crashed with 66 people on board.

Egypt’s aviation minister had earlier said that a “terrorist attack” was a more likely cause than technical failure for the Airbus A320’s sudden disappearance from radar screens on a flight from Paris to Cairo.

But French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said there was “absolutely no indication” of why the flight came down.

“We’re looking at all possibilities, but none is being favoured over the others because we have absolutely no indication on the causes,” he told French television.

The tragedy raised fears of a repeat of the bombing of a Russian passenger jet by the Islamic State jihadist group over Egypt last October that killed all 224 people on board.

EgyptAir had prematurely announced on Thursday that wreckage from the plane had been founding floating at sea off the island of Karpathos, northeast of Crete, only to backtrack after Greece denied any debris had been found.

The plane disappeared between Karpathos and the Egyptian coast in the early hours of Thursday morning, without its crew sending a distress signal.

Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said the aircraft had swerved sharply twice in Egyptian airspace before plunging 22,000 feet (6,700 metres) and disappearing from radar screens.

Intensified search

Both Egypt and Greece dispatched aircraft and naval vessels on a search mission. They were expected to be joined by French teams, while the US sent a surveillance plane to help with the operation.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi demanded an “intensified search” for the aircraft after reports by the airline that wreckage from the plane had been found were retracted.

French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday that it was clear the plane had crashed, and authorities in both Paris and Cairo opened investigations.

EgyptAir said 15 French citizens were among the 26 foreign passengers on the plane, who also included a Briton and at least one Canadian.

Both France and Egypt have come under attack by IS jihadists in the past year, and Hollande promised a comprehensive probe into the cause of the crash.

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