Netherlands also bans flights to Sinai Peninsula on terror threat

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Candles and condolences left at the Russian embassy in Vilnius after the disaster with flight KGL9268 (Photo: Twitter/@VJurkonis). Candles and condolences left at the Russian embassy in Vilnius after the disaster with flight KGL9268 (Photo: Twitter/@VJurkonis)

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also decided to stop all Dutch flights to and from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and to stop flying over northern Sinai until Sunday at least. The Netherlands is awaiting the outcome of a British investigation on the security situation. England and Ireland are also not flying in the region for the time being.

This decision follows consultation with the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism, intelligence service AIVD, airlines and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the airplane crash in Egypt on Saturday, NU reports. Flight KGL9268 was carrying 217 passengers and seven crew members when it crashed. Most of the passengers were from Russia, but there were also a number of Ukrainian people on board. No Dutch were on board.

The Ministry has altered the travel advice for Egypt. Air travel to Sharm el-Seikh from anywhere is not recommended until further notice. Dutch people already there are advised to contact their travel agency. According to the Ministry, there are currently 408 Dutch registered in Sharm el-Seikh.

The British authorities believe it possible that the the Russian Airbus A321 was brought down by an explosive. "As more information becomes known, we are increasingly concerned that the aircraft may have been destroyed by a bomb", British Prime Minister David Cameron's office stated on Wednesday. The British governments has also temporarily banned British airlines from flying over Sinai as a precautionary measure.

The US intelligence agencies also believe that an explosive is a likely scenario. On Wednesday CNN reported an official saying that a bomb attack by ISIS or a related movement seems to be the most obvious scenario, but that no formal conclusion has been reached yet. "There is a strong suspicion that an explosive was placed in the luggage or in the device itself." US analyst observed a flash of light on satellite images, which seems to indicate that an explosion originated in the plane itself.

The Egyptian pilot leading the investigation into the incident believes the crash was caused by a technical defect. According to BBC, a spokesperson for the Russian Aviation stated on Sunday that the aircraft had broken in two in the air. The airline points to an "external influence" and has ruled out that the plane broke apart due to a technical fault or error by the pilot.

Terrorist organization ISIS claimed responsibility for the crash shortly after it happened, but according to NU, most experts have ruled that out.

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