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Traces of explosives found on victims of EgyptAir Paris-Cairo flight: Civil aviation ministry

Ahram Online , Thursday 15 Dec 2016
Part of a plane chair among recovered debris of the EgyptAir jet that crashed in the Mediterranean Sea is seen in this handout image released May 21, 2016, (Reuters)
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Egypt’s civil ‎aviation ministry said on Thursday that traces of explosives were found on the remains of the victims on the EgyptAir Paris-Cairo flight that crashed over the Mediterranean last summer.

The investigative committee looking into the crash will refer the matter to the Egyptian general ‎prosecution, the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

“Since there is criminal suspicion,” the committee will put its expertise in the hands of the prosecution, the statement added.

On 19 May, EgyptAir flight MS804 crashed into the eastern ‎Mediterranean, killing all 66 people on board.

There were 30 Egyptian passengers on board, including the crew members, as well as 15 French citizens, two Iraqis and one passenger each from the UK, Canada, Belgium, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Sudan, Chad and Portugal. 

The commercial flight left Paris’ Charles de Gaulle International Airport at 11:09pm GMT, and was due to land at Cairo International Airport at 01:15am GMT.

The aircraft disappeared from radar over three hours into the flight.

No one has claimed responsibility for the crash.

Following the deadly May incident, Egyptian authorities opened an investigation to determine the cause of the crash.

French aviation authorities as well as Airbus, the manufacturer of the plane, have contributed to the Egyptian investigation.

‎In July, the investigative committee said the flight data recorder ‎showed that a fire erupted on board the plane shortly before the crash.

Investigators’ analysis of the flight data recorder indicated there was smoke in the lavatory and avionics bay. Recovered wreckage also showed “signs of damage because of high temperatures.”

On the day of the plane crash, Egyptian aviation minister Sherif Fathy said at a press conference that the “possibility of a terror attack is higher than that of a technical error.”

Fathy told reporters at the time that he reached this conclusion “based on what I read and from my expertise, but this remains assumptions and possible scenarios.”

Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Alexander Bortnikov said at the time that a terrorist act was a likely cause of the crash.

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